Football Championship To Be Renamed for PM

Cambodia’s Premier League football championship in 2007 will be renamed the Samdech Hun Sen Cup, the Cambodian Football Federation announced Saturday.

Dates and sponsorship for the $200,000, 36-team tournament have yet to be finalized but the CFF is currently negotiating with MobiTel as well as ANZ Royal and Union Commercial Bank, according to Sao Sokha, national military commander and the elected CFF president.

“I was the one who had the idea to request a trophy named after Samdech [Prime Minister] Hun Sen,” Sao Sokha said, adding that Hun Sen was himself once a football player. “Samdech has been supportive of football because all Cambodian people would get involved,” he said, adding that the cup will provide an opportunity to develop Cambodia’s sporting sector.

Sao Sokha made the remarks at a press conference at Olympic Stadium where he officially re­ceived new national team uniforms supplied as a gift from the British retailer JJB Sports.

MobiTel chairman Kith Meng on Monday said his firm and the CTN television network, which he also owns, have agreed “in principle” to support the tournament.

Both Sao Sokha and Funcinpec’s Khek Ravy, who was ousted as CFF president in April, refused to answer questions about the controversy surrounding the disputed CFF presidency.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association had threatened to sanction Cambodia after Sao Sokha replaced Khek Ravy in a CFF election that FIFA claimed was tainted by “political influence.”

FIFA recently announced that it does not recognize Sao Sokha as CFF president, although Sao Sokha said Sept 7 that he retains the presidency.

“We have to help ourselves before asking for help from others,” Sao Sokha told reporters.

“I have nothing to say about FIFA.”

Khek Ravy told a reporter at the press conference that matters would soon be clarified.

“I and General Sao Sokha will hold a press conference to talk about the FIFA issue,” he said, though he did not elaborate.




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