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2022 Wold Cup vote must be re-run if corruption proved, says Goldsmith

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2022 Wold Cup vote must be re-run if corruption proved, says Goldsmith | Thaiger

PHUKET: The vote for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup must be re-run if corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign are proved to be accurate, Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, said on Monday.

A British newspaper on Sunday claimed it had evidence that around $5 million (3 million pounds) was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar’s successful bid, allegations organizers have “vehemently” denied.

Goldsmith, Britain’s former Attorney General, said that if football’s world governing body was to weather scandals surrounding World Cup bids, it had to “to produce a convincing and transparent answer to these allegations”.

“I believe that if these allegations are shown to be true, then the hosting decision for Qatar has to be rerun,” he told BBC radio.

The man at the center of the allegations, Qatari former FIFA executive committee member and Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, was not an official member of the bid team and has yet to comment publicly on the allegations.

Football’s world governing body had already launched an investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the bid, headed by American lawyer Michael Garcia, which was expected to report this year.

Muddied waters

If the unprecedented decision was taken to re-run the vote, it is fair to assume that the losers in the 2010 ballot, who had already spent millions of dollars satisfying the technical criteria for a bid, would be in the frame.

The convoluted way the 2018 and 2022 bidding processes became intertwined muddies the waters somewhat, but the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia could all claim to have been most hard-done-by if any corruption was proven.

The United States, who finished second to Qatar in the final round of voting, has enough quality venues already functioning to host two World Cups.

They also have plentiful hotels and a track record of organizing big events well, including the 1994 World Cup which is still the best-attended tournament.

The American line has been consistent throughout the controversy that has surrounded the Qatar triumph – that their sole focus is now on hosting the tournament in 2026.

Regional governing body CONCACAF have expressed a similar priority, although they are not necessarily committed to the US being their preferred choice as hosts.

“From a CONCACAF perspective, our focus for the World Cup is 2026. We’re committed to that,” CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb told reporters in New York last month.

Australia garnered just one vote in the first round of voting, but similarly, would also not need to embark on major venue or infrastructure construction if another host was required for 2022.

The country invested A$43 million (23.89 million pounds) in their bid to host the tournament for the first time, though, and could find the political will to fund another attempt may be lacking.

Serious allegations

Football Federation Australia (FFA) supremo Frank Lowy, the billionaire who has overseen huge growth in soccer’s popularity in the country, may yet decide to chance his arm at another run at securing what would be the crowning achievement of his footballing life.

“We note these are very serious allegations,” an FFA spokesman said.

“We’ve been monitoring FIFA’s investigations for many months and we’ll be keenly interested in their response. But at this stage, we can only continue to encourage a thorough process which covers all the facts as soon as possible.” South Korea co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan and is gearing up to host the Asian Games, the world’s second largest multi-sport gathering after the Olympics, in Incheon later this year.

“We have no official statement as of yet since the allegation is not officially confirmed,” an official at the Korean FA said on Monday.

“When it is confirmed and there’s a re-run, the head and other senior members of the association will discuss the matter then. Nothing to say at the moment.”

Nobody was available to comment at the Japanese Football Association (JFA) headquarters in Tokyo on Monday.

JFA president Kuniya Daini was forced to issue an apology earlier this year, however, after suggesting Japan’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics meant it could to step in to replace Qatar if FIFA decided not to stage the tournament there.

FIFA’s annual congress starts on June 10 in Sao Paulo and minds are sure to be concentrated with the world’s headlines now focusing on corruption allegations and not the showpiece World Cup tournament that starts in Brazil two days later.

— Reuters

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Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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