thumbnail Hello,

The duo have come out in criticism of influence and pressure from authority figures within the game in Thailand

Former Fifa World Cup referees, Prachya Permpanich and Pirom Anprasert have spoken about the politics behind football in Thailand, that has led to matches being fixed through referees at the request of authorities within the game.

The revelations come at a time when another Thai referee, Sivakorn Pu-udom, was pulled from officiating in AFC Cup matches, and later accused of fixing a match by refusing to award a penalty.

The referees speaking to Goal, criticised the decision to investigate Sivakorn, adding that influence and pressure from authorities within the game to sway matches has been present in Thailand for a long time and, has been detrimental to the development of referees and the game.

"To do their job properly, referees need freedom," said Prachya, who with over 20 years of experience, officiated in Germany 2006. "Those who are in charge in the association must stay out of influencing officials. The referee has to be fair and square as one operates as the judge on the pitch."

Prachya also added that failure to comply to requests from authority figures from within the game, proved to be costly.

"Every one involved has to ask themselves how much they know about a referee's job. What are they exactly working for? Is it their own interest? Right now referees have to accept these 'ugly assignments' (instructions from authorities). They don't want to, but if they refuse, that will cost them more than they can bear. They have to do it for their kids, their wife, for their living."

Pirom, who had been a referee at the 1996 Olympic Games as well as the 1997 Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Australia, questioned the credentials of General Shinnasen Thongkomol, the Chairman of the Board of Thai Referee Association who has led the charge against Sivakorn, and also pointed out that he himself had lost his position as a referee for refusing to abide by instructions to fix outcome of matches.

"I really want to know what's on Football Association of Thailand's (FAT) mind?," he told Goal. "Appoint an army man to be referee's chairman just like that. Does he know the rules?"

"Now these referees have to compromise, have to accept this kind of 'orders' to secure their job. Otherwise you'll be kicked out, just like me. I lost my place in Fifa right after I made it clear that I won't be taking their side. This happened to every one in my team as well."

Now working with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Pirom has warned that unless the situation changes, football in Thailand would be adversely affected.

"Referee Board members, match commissioners, they all face the same situation [of external pressure from authorities]," he added. "You either obey or you're out. We're heading in to the dark ages."

Australian officials, will be the sole representative for the Asean Football Federation region at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.