Football Federation Rewards National Team Players, Doubles Wages

The Football Federation of Cambodia has doubled the salaries of the national team’s players—from $10 to $20 per training session—and started providing additional benefits such as jackets and suitcases, officials said on Tuesday.

Federation spokesman May Tola said Sao Sokha, the body’s president, announced the increase at an annual congress in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

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General Sao Sokha, commander of the military police and president of the Football Federation of Cambodia, congratulates national team players after they beat Macau 3-0 in their first World Cup qualifier at Phnom Penh’s Old Stadium in 2015. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The pay raise would reward the players for their hard work, Mr. Tola said.

“The leader of the federation has seen the need and the efforts of the players,” he said.

The spokesman added that he did not think the hike was enough, but the federation worked within its budget.

The raise is for training sessions only. Players are paid a separate fee per match, which can vary.

The federation’s deputy president, Khieu Sameth, on Tuesday compared the move to the surprise increase of salaries for some government workers earlier this year. The members of high-ranking government officials’ cabinets were given significant raises last month.

“We want to encourage [the players] and help with their livelihoods,” he said.

Mr. Sameth said the federation would also provide the national team—which will play a friendly game against India next week—with additional benefits, such as official jackets and suitcases.

He added that the president has also appealed to local clubs to invest in home fields in each province in order to attract more support and competition.

“If we just play in Phnom Penh, there is…no support base, so the vision is that if we let them [play] only in Phnom Penh it will not progress,” he said, adding that a few of the 12 top-league teams still didn’t have their own fields.

The pay raise is also part of the buildup to the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Mr. Sameth said.

Goalkeeper Um Sereyroth, who has played for the national team since 2013, said he welcomed the increase.

“I felt happy because we tried hard in training,” he said.

Mr. Sereyroth said he felt optimistic about the team’s prospects with the arrival of their new coach, Brazilian national Luis Fernando Vitorino, who was introduced earlier this month.

“I hope the result will be better than the previous years, because the new coach [will] bring us new experiences,” he said.

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