Committee Defends Vote To FIFA Staff

Following scrutiny from the Fed­eration Internationale de Football As­sociation, the National Olympic Committee has defended the April election that ousted Khek Ravy from the presidency of the Cam­bodian Football Federation, a CFF official said Friday.

The Olympic committee sent a letter to FIFA on Thursday after FIFA President Joseph Blatter wrote to Khek Ravy late last month, stating that the election violated FIFA’s internal rules, and could lead to its funding to the CFF being axed.                                     “We have…explained that the elections were transparent,” said CFF Dep­u­ty General Director Yeam Theang. “If FIFA suspends sup­port, it means we can’t have $250,000 per year,” he added.

The CFF unanimously elected Na­­tional Military Police Com­man­der Sao Sokha as president on Ap­ril 24, ousting Khek Ravy, who had held the position since 1998.

In an April 28 letter addressed to “President” Khek Ravy, Blatter wrote that because the elections were organized by the Ministry of Edu­cation rather than the CFF, they “flagrantly violated” FIFA’s rules.

Sao Sokha said by telephone that the elections had not been ex­plain­ed clearly enough to FIFA and said that he was elected legitimately.

“We are providing more information on the election process to FIFA,” he said, adding that he was not worried about possible suspension or loss of funds. “CFF belongs to the nation,” he said.

Khek Ravy said by telephone from Singapore that prior to the elec­tions, he had sent letters to edu­cation ministry officials, alerting them to FIFA’s regulations. “FIFA is not harsh…. They just want us to follow the rules,” he said. “[We] cannot use the Cam­bodian way.”

Asked whether he hopes to be re­instated as CFF president, he re­plied: “I don’t think I’m so important. I think by now the CFF can run by itself. I think Sao Sokha can do a good job.”

But if the CFF is suspended from FIFA, as FIFA has warned could happen, “it will be a very severe blow,” he


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