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'Joy' ban lifted for Australia-Thailand qualifier

A soccer player from the Thai national team displays a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej after winning the "King's Cup" at Rajamangala stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/Files

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has lifted the ban on "joyful activities" at this month's World Cup qualifier against Australia after having originally asked fans not to chant amid mourning for the long-serving King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Thai football association had originally sought to have the November 15 match moved out of the country out of respect for the monarch, who died last month at the age of 88.

But two weeks ago they confirmed it would go ahead in Bangkok as scheduled with a request that fans wear black, white or grey and not bring banners or drums to the Rajamangala Stadium.

Those restrictions have now been lifted, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Thursday, citing a joint Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and Asian Football Confederation statement.

"All supporters attending the above-mentioned match shall dress in polite manner as they see appropriate, use cheering equipment, show symbols and bring banners inside the stadium, sing cheering songs and appropriately conduct joyful activities both inside and surrounding areas of the stadium," it read.

The FFA said it hoped Australian supporters would still "show the appropriate respect leading up to the match and inside the stadium".

The Thai FA shut down its domestic football competition and cancelled or postponed a number of other sport events as part of a wider ban on entertainment during a 30-day mourning period for the King.

The entertainment ban, which has included restrictions on television programming, will be lifted on November 14, the Thai prime minister said on Tuesday.

Thailand are bottom of Group B of Asian qualifying for 2018, with Australia second behind leaders Saudi Arabia.

The top two teams qualify automatically for Russia.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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