Five Thai league players, referee, officials charged with match fixing
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) will wait for the justice system to run its course after revealing the names of 12 people charged with match fixing, including five Thai League players and a FIFA referee.
FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang and National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda held a media conference at which they announced that all the suspects had been released on bail, having reported to the police following the issue of arrest warrants.
Last week, Somyot had vowed to name and shame those who were bringing the Thai game into disrepute through match fixing. And he stayed true to his word by providing details of the 12 suspects.
Four players from Navy FC were among the players charged, while a Nakhon Ratchasima player was also named.
One FIFA referee and another Thai League referee were also alleged to have been involved, while a Sisaket FC director has also been charged.
Four further "investors" were issued with arrest warrants for their roles in allegedly fixing four Thai League matches in the 2017 season.
Nakhon Ratchasima FC swiftly conducted a media conference to distance themselves from the allegations and announced that their player would have his contract terminated.
Navy FC are expected to follow suit on Thursday.
The FAT submitted the evidence that they had gathered, and the police decided that there was enough to move ahead and press charges.
The scandal comes at a bad time for Thai football, with the game's credibility called into question during a period in which attendances have fallen significantly.
At the same time, it is encouraging to see the FAT make a stand on an issue that has long been suspected of having an impact on the outcome of too many games.
It is expected that this will be just the first step in a bigger operation to rid the Thai game of the scourge of match fixing.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK