Football Federation Warns Against Team Meddling Could

As the Cambodian team competes in its final match of the South­east Asian Games today, the Cam­bo­dian Football Federation said Monday that future interference by the National Olympic Committee in Cambodian football could lead to the country’s suspension from in­ter­national soccer tournaments.

The suspension would mean ex­clusion from international games and the loss of an annual $250,000 donation by the Federation Inter­na­tionale de Football Association to the CFF, said federation President Khek Ravy.

“The rules are that FIFA does not allow anybody to interfere in football beside the [national football] federations,” Khek Ravy said.

“No Cambodian wants to see the Cam­bodian football team lose. If there will be the same problems [in the future] FIFA and [the Asian Foot­ball Confederation] might re­act and ban the Cambodian football team from international football,” he said.

The answer is for the CFF and the National Olympic Committee to find a solution together, he add­ed.

Cambodian League champion’s Khe­mara, a team supported by Fun­­­cinpec President Prince Nor­o­dom Ranariddh, who is also the Olym­­pic Committee’s President, were controversially chosen at the last minute to compete in the SEA Games. Four players from the na­tional team were also picked to com­­pete.

So far, the team chosen by the Olym­­pic Committee has lost 0-5 to Ma­laysia and 2-4 to the Philippines. They play defending SEA Games’ Champions Thailand today.

Khek Ravy was diplomatic about the dropping of the national side, saying it was a good idea to try something new but that no one should expect miracles from a team that had one week to prepare.

Members of the National Olym­pic Committee could not be contacted for comment.

National team coach Scott O’Don­­ell said he would travel to In­donesia on Sunday together with a team of selected players—most of who are from the national team—to compete against Indone­sian and Thai teams.

“It is a competition against better opposition and that is exactly what we need,” he said of the forthcoming games.

Bouy Dary, a national team player, said he was hoping to be one of the players selected to compete in Indonesia.

“Now everyone is working hard. I hope the players will perform better in Indonesia than the team in the Philippines,” he said.

            (Addition­al reporting by Chhim Sopheark)

 

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