BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand Wednesday denied a father's claim that a boy chosen as a mascot for English giants Chelsea had been forced to make way for the prime minister's football-mad son.
A government spokesman said the list of mascots for Wednesday's pre-season friendly in Bangkok had been drawn up months in advance, rejecting comments by the boy's father.
"Everything was done according to procedure," the spokesman told reporters. "There is no way other names were taken off."
The official was reacting to a claim by Kriangyos Sudlapha, who told the Bangkok Post that his son Noppadol, nine, had been set to walk out with the Chelsea players and had already gone through rehearsals.
But he said Noppadol and other mascots were then axed, with organisers telling him they had been replaced by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's son and other children of cabinet ministers.
Kriangyos said his boy, who was also a mascot for last week's Manchester United game, was upset by the slight and no longer wanted to see Chelsea play the Singha All-Star XI at Rajamangala Stadium.
An official from beer company Singha, which is organising the match, said parents had been free to apply for their children to be mascots, but not all had been successful.
But the official, who did not want to be named, acknowledged that most of the mascots were the children of VIPs or Singha executives.
"Had I been authorised to make the selection, then I'd have selected the prime minister's son," he told the Post.
According to an earlier report, the prime minister's 11-year-old son Supasek Amornchat was also among the children who took part in Chelsea's coaching clinic this week led by star players.
"It was a lot of fun," he said, according to The Nation, calling it an experience he "would never forget".