Thai threat to pre-season plans
Manchester United and Chelsea's pre-season plans are in danger of being thrown into chaos - by a fourth-tier team from Thailand.
Pattaya FC successfully won an injunction that prevented a vote of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) taking place at the weekend which should have confirmed amendments to their rules in line with FIFA requirements.
The world governing body has taken a dim view of the development and warned the FAT they risk being suspended from international competition should a resolution not be reached by the beginning of next week.
Whilst the internal machinations of Thai football do not normally generate much interest in the UK, in this instance the impact of any suspension would affect both United and Chelsea, who are due to visit at the start of their pre-season campaigns next month.
United - who have learned Italian superstar Alessandro del Piero looks certain to be in the A-League All Stars side that faces them in Sydney on July 20 - are due to face the Singha All Stars XI on July 13 in David Moyes' first game in charge.
Chelsea, back under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, are set to meet the same opposition, also in Bangkok, on July 17.
Given the prestige of the two games it seems inconceivable Pattaya would be allowed to derail them over what appear to be relatively minor complaints about the make-up of the Thai FA.
Nevertheless, the threat is there, which was acknowledged by FIFA committee member and outgoing Thai FA president Worawi Makudi who told Thailand's English-language newspaper The Nation: "I don't want to speculate on the consequences of a possible sanction but FIFA stated the suspension would prevent us from having international contact.
"I assume it includes everything."
In 2009, United were forced to abandon a planned match in Indonesia after a terrorist attack in Jakarta just days before they were due to arrive.