Thailand banned from 2012 Olympics football tournament

Palestine will replace Thailand in the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2012 Olympics after the Thais were booted out for fielding an ineligible player.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said today that Palestine, beaten on a penalty shootout by Thailand in the first round, had been awarded a 3-0 first-leg win.

Thailand had won the home leg 1-0 in Bangkok before being found to have fielded suspended player Sutjarit Jantakol, the AFC said on their website (www.the-afc.com).

The Thai football association (FAT) hit back at the AFC, accusing them of being unclear on the rules but their formal appeal was over-ruled by FIFA, according to the AFC.

The player picked up a one-match suspension for violent conduct at the Asian under-19 championship in 2008.

However, the Thai FA claimed Sutjarit had already served the ban because he was in the country's squad at the 2010 Asian Games, although he did not play.

Thai soccer chief Worawi Makudi pledged to fight the decision after the AFC countered that the Asian Games soccer tournament is run by the Olympic Council of Asia.

"It was the match commissioner's mistake and not Thailand's," Worawi told the Bangkok Post. "We will fight to the end."

Palestine will now play Bahrain over two legs on June 19 and 23.

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