Football Club Says Deserters Should Return

Five football players who fled the Defense Ministry FC football team following allegations of mat­ch fixing should return to finish their contracts, club officials and the sport’s governing body said Friday.

Tem Moeun, director of the ministry’s RCAF Sport Center, which controls the club, said that the five players—forwards Khim Borey and Sok Pheng, goalkeeper Samreth Seyha, midfielder Lon Sopheara and winger Sok Seila—had deserted the team after being blamed for its elimination in the Hun Sen Cup quarterfinals.

Defense Ministry FC were knock­ed out of the annual tourney on March 7 following their loss to Phou­chung Neak, a smaller side representing the Cam­bodian Navy. After a scoreless 120 minutes, Defense Ministry lost 3-5 in a penalty shoot out.

Tem Moeun said his club suspects the players of throwing the match and that their contracts are more than two years from expiry. He refused to discuss any evidence of wrongdoing but said the players made a weak effort to win.

“The sport is very much in the black market business,” Mr Tem Moeun said. “We just want to say that we have noticed their irregularities,” he added.

Ahead of qualifiers for the regional Challenge Cup tournament, two of the players, Mr Khim Borey and Mr Samreth Seyha, who are also Cam­bodian international team members, were traveling to Bang­ladesh on Friday and could not be reached for comment. Contact information for the other three players was not immediately available.

Mr Tem Moeun said that the players since leaving the Defense Ministry’s team had already begun to train with other local clubs, which he declined to name

FFC Secretary-General Ouk Se­thy­cheat said that the federation has no authority to intervene in the dispute. However, he said that the federation would prevent those five players from playing for clubs other than Defense Ministry.

“The contract is the law. They must respect the law. Even though they are with the new clubs, their names are still with the old club,” he said.



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