Mourning Thailand wants World Cup Qualifier against Australia moved

Thailand are scheduled to host Australia in 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifier Group B clash in Bangkok on 15 November.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Revered monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej breathed his last on Thursday Reuters

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) wants the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying clash against Australia in November moved out of the country as the Thais mourn the death of their celebrated monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thailand begin a year of mourning for their king, who breathed his last aged 88 on Thursday after a seven-decade reign, and will be toning down its entertainment activities for a period of 30 days.

The War Elephants are scheduled to host Australia in the Group B clash of the World Cup Asian Qualfication on 15 November. The FAT revealed it had discussed with Fifa the situation in the country and has also written to Australian football's governing body, Football Federation Australia (FFA), and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) seeking relocation of the tie.

Notably, as part of the mourning, all domestic sports activities have been cancelled for the rest of the year, including the halting of the country's top-flight football competition, Thai Premier League, which now has been won by Muangthong United.

"We have discussed two options with Fifa. First, we are hoping for an agreement with Australia to let us play an away match first. Second, we might have to find a neutral venue to play if the first option fails," FAT spokesperson Patit Supapong was quoted as saying by the Reuters.

"Changing the time for the match is not an option, so the match must definitely be on."

Meanwhile, the FFA said in a statement that it is waiting for an official confirmation from the Fifa and the AFC to take a call on the match. The home leg is likely to be held in Japan or Singapore or might see a direct swap with Australia, according to reports.

After losing four of their previous games in the tournament, Thailand are placed last in the group and are unlikely to progress as only the top two teams from the group earn a direct qualification to Russia.

However, Thailand reportedly have no plans to pull out of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, in which they have been drawn in Group A along with co-hosts Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. They are scheduled to play their group opener against Indonesia in Bocaue on 19 November.