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Thailand Open postponed due to state of emergency

(Reuters) - This year's Thailand Open has been postponed after the Thai government declared a 60-day state of emergency in the troubled Southeast Asian country, organizers of the golf tournament said on Thursday.

Emergency was declared on Wednesday with the Thai government hoping to prevent an escalation in anti-government protests now in a third month.

Originally scheduled from March 13-16 at Thana City Golf & Sports Club on the outskirts of Bangkok, the $1 million tournament would be moved to "a more suitable date" later in the year, organizers said in a statement.

"We want to ensure the environment is stable in order to stage our world class tournament and national Open," said Rungsrid Luxsitanonda, president of the Thailand Golf Association.

"There are just six weeks to go before the tournament so it would be unwise to proceed with the current date."

The tri-sanctioned event was scheduled to be the season-opener for both OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO).

Japan soccer club Cerezo Osaka, who signed Uruguay's Diego Forlan this week, also decided to steer clear of the troubled country.

"Cerezo were scheduled to hold the camp from January 26 to February 7 and are currently trying to arrange a new location and new dates," Kyodo news agency reported.

Irrespective of the situation, the Thai Premier League will begin on Feb 22, the chairman of the soccer league said.

"We cannot postpone the start of the new season," TPL chairman Ong-arj Kosinkha told local media, conceding the number of spectators would drop.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; editing by Justin Palmer)

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