Ministry of Education officials on Monday called for the resignation of Khek Ravy, president of the Cambodian Football Federation and a Funcinpec member, and voiced concerns about the CFF’s handling of $1 million in Federation Internationale de Football Association funds.
Khek Ravy responded that he plans to remain the football federation’s president until 2007, and threatened to file defamation lawsuits against anyone accusing him of mismanaging FIFA funds.
Bun Sok, CPP secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered Funcinpec Education Minister Kol Pheng to organize an election to replace Khek Ravy. The CFF operates under the Education Ministry.
The ministry has not reported back to FIFA on how the CFF has been spending its funds since 2001, Bun Sok said.
“[The CFF] has accepted a million dollars from FIFA but there is no financial management,” he said.
Given the lack of financial management and Khek Ravy’s refusal to step down, the ministry is concerned that the world football body could cut its financial support to Cambodia, Bun Sok added.
Lak Sam Ath, the CPP’s director general of youth and sport at the ministry, claimed Khek Ravy has illegitimately headed the national football federation since 2001, when his elected term as president expired.
“He has no validity any more to run the federation. He has abused the law,” Lak Sam Ath claimed, adding that Khek Ravy has never reported to the ministry on how the CFF has spent FIFA’s money.
“We don’t know anything about expenditures,” he said. “We stopped trusting them a long time ago.”
Lak Sam Ath claimed he asked Khek Ravy to step down from the position in 2003 and 2005, but that Khek Ravy refused. Lak Sam Ath said he, too, was reluctant to report back to FIFA on the CFF, but was anxious that FIFA’s funding should not be jeopardized.
“I want harmony. I don’t want to destroy national benefits,” he said.
Khek Ravy said FIFA has provided $250,000 to the CFF in yearly installments for the past four years to develop football in Cambodia, and has audited the CFF’s accounts and found the funds to have been spent legitimately.
The education ministry lacks the authority to call an election to replace him, he added.
“The ministry cannot order [an election] because the federation is a member of FIFA,” he said.
Khek Ravy added that he was disappointed by a recent move by the ministry to cancel Cambodia’s hosting of the Asian Football Confederation President’s Cup, which was slated for May 10 to 20 in Phnom Penh.
Khek Ravy said that the ministry informed him on Thursday that the event would have to be cancelled, as the ministry could not afford $900,000 that he had requested to install floodlights at Olympic Stadium so that the cup could be held in Phnom Penh.
“We will lose credibility,” Khek Ravy said, adding that he will appeal the ministry’s decision to Hun Sen.