World Cup qualifiers: Thailand may play Australia at neutral venue due to national mourning

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said there were encouraging signs the match would take place as planned, although Kuala Lumpur or Singapore were options.

AFP October 17, 2016 12:57:05 IST
World Cup qualifiers: Thailand may play Australia at neutral venue due to national mourning

Sydney: Australia could play their World Cup qualifier against Thailand on neutral territory if efforts fail to keep the match in Bangkok following the death of King Bhumibol, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Monday.

World Cup qualifiers Thailand may play Australia at neutral venue due to national mourning

The Australia-Thailand match may be shifted out of Bangkok. Getty Images

The venue for the November 15 match has been in limbo since the world's longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday aged 88, after years of ill health, plunging Thailand into mourning.

Bhumibol's death prompted the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to ask FFA if the match could be moved or postponed.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said there were encouraging signs the match would take place as planned, although Kuala Lumpur or Singapore were options.

"It does look encouraging," Gallop told reporters. "We're hopeful the game will now be locked into Bangkok.

"Talks between the government and the Thai football association we understand are happening today.

"Thai football fans will want to see their team play, obviously our condolences to the family (of the king) and the whole country, but we're hopeful the Socceroos' match will go ahead now in Bangkok."

Thailand has begun a year of mourning and the government has asked people to "refrain from festivities" for a 30-day period, which ends just before the Socceroos are due to face Thailand.

Australia are currently second in Group B of the final Asian qualifying for a place at Russia 2018, while Thailand have yet to earn a point after four matches.

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