2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifier: Mourning Thailand agrees to host Australia in November

The World Cup Qualifier will be held in Bangkok on 15 November.

Thailand football
Thailand are placed last in Asian Group B with no wins from four matches Reuters

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) has confirmed that the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok will host the 2018 Fifa World Qualifier group clash against Australia.

The FAT had initially discussed with the Fifa and had sought permission from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Football Federation of Australia (FFA) to move the Asian Group B tie, which is scheduled to be played on 15 November, to a neutral venue or for a direct swap with Australia following mourning for late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thailand entered the year-long mourning period in which the government had asked the country to tone down entertainment activities for a period of 30 days following which local sports including the Thai Premier League were halted.

Reports suggested that Singapore was a likely alternate venue. The Singapore Sports Club had even confirmed that it was approached by the FAT and even went on to say that the National Stadium would be available to host the match.

However, it was finally decided that the World Cup Qualifier would stay in Bangkok after the government announced on Saturday that sports could carry on as usual. The FAT announced its decision on Monday saying the Australian side were not keen on hosting the tie.

"We have decided that this is the best possible outcome, because the Australian side said they are not keen to host the match because of the short time to prepare," deputy secretary-general of FAT, Patit Supapong, was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

"But there will be restrictions on dress code and cheering equipment and instruments like drums will be prohibited."

Also, the FAT upheld its decision to halt the 18-team Thai league with three more games to play in the season after a meeting with the league franchises on Monday.

League leaders Muangthong United, who just had a five-point lead over fierce rivals Bangkok United, benefited from the move while strugglers Army United and Chainat Hornbill, who reportedly complained against the governing body's decision, were relegated to League 1.