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Thai FA bans players, officials over football final brawls

A fight breaks out on the sidelines of the final between Thailand and Indonesia

Thai football on Tuesday handed out lengthy bans to two players, two officials and a coach over the brawls that marred the men’s final at the Southeast Asian Games.

Indonesia beat Thailand 5-2 in extra time in Phnom Penh last week but the match degenerated into violence as players and staff from both sides clashed on the touchline.

Thailand had three players sent off.

The Thai FA apologized and promised a swift investigation, and on Tuesday announced a one-year ban from the national team for a goalkeeping coach and two team officials.

“The fact-finding team agreed unanimously that as adults, the goalkeeping coach and team officials should be mature enough to control the situation and set a good example for the players, who are aged under 22,” the Thai FA said in a statement.

“They should not lead or take part in the incident.”

Men’s football at the biennial SEA Games is played between under-23 sides.

Goalkeeper Soponwit Rakyart — who was red-carded after he ran half the length of the pitch to deliver a diving punch — was banned from the national team for six months.

Substitute Teerapak Pruengna was also given a six-month ban.

“While they took part in the incident, they were under match pressure and have apologized, and they are young — these are reasons to reduce their penalty,” the Thai FA said.

Indonesia went into the final hoping to restore pride following a deadly stadium disaster and the loss of hosting the Under-20 World Cup.

But the match will be remembered for the chaotic scenes that erupted in the 97th minute when Thailand – who had been 2-0 down – scored to make it 2-2 and force extra time.

Thai officials celebrated by running over to the Indonesian bench, prompting the first melee, and there was more trouble when Indonesia retook the lead early in extra time.

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