Billionaire Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra has given his country’s national team squad the go-ahead to train at the club next month to help their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Thaksin, the former Thai prime minister, will bring the entire Thailand squad to Manchester for an 11-day stay next month.
Thailand’s football federation president, Worawi Makudi, said: “If we want to go to the World Cup, this is what we have to do.
“Manchester City are keen to help us, they signed some of our players and they are happy to pay for our preparation.”
Thaksin has been criticised for trying to push through the signing of Thai players, including international full-back Suree Sukha, since his arrival at the club last summer, although that has been tempered by City’s best season start in a century under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Thailand, who have never reached the World Cup finals, have been drawn with Japan, Oman and Bahrain in the third round of Asian qualifiers.Makudi said that Shinawatra would be footing most of the bill for the players’ use of club facilities.