Mistreatment of journalists by ignorant policing at last weekend’s Cambodian Premier League playoff finals had football federation officials issuing apologies.
Media kicked out of press box
Western sports journalists were given a frosty reception at last Saturday’s Cambodian Premier League (CPL) playoff finals, with security personnel prohibiting them from sitting in the usual media enclosure. The Olympic Stadium featured heightened security for the day’s proceedings, including arrivals by presiding dignitaries, Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) President Sao Sokha and National Olympic Committee President Thong Khon.
The FFC was criticised for not informing guards to accommodate the reporters, with a makeshift press box moved at the far end of the main stand after fans of both teams had filled the central seats by the time the journalists had returned from prematch interviews.
Post reporter Andy Brouwer was forced to sit lower down among rowdy spectators, making it difficult to view the action and record accurate match notes. To make things worse, a clumsy guard kicked over his drink, mistaking him for a tourist. Other media representatives were also resigned to sit among the crowds, having been asked to vacate their seats in the press box for children of a CPL sponsor, even though numerous chairs were available.
FFC media officer Tep Phany claimed he was unaware of a lack of arrangement for journalists. “I don’t know why they did not make adequate provision for the press,” he asserted.
Newly appointed FFC Vice President Kheiv Sameth also declared that he knew nothing of the neglect of media personnel. “I will talk to the president [Sao Sokha] about it for next time,” he said.
May Tola, deputy secretary general of the FFC, stated he was unhappy to hear of the poor treatment of media, saying: “It’s very unfortunate for the Federation, and so we take full responsibility of this neglect. Our actions did not show good hospitality to the press, who have been supportive all through the season, especially The Phnom Penh Post coverage of the league. The press box must be respected because the media are so important for us.”
May Tola officially apologised on behalf of the federation, promising he would “raise this issue with the organising committee to take note to avoid future occurrence”.
The federation official claimed that the police force’s lack of experience in handling sports events had lead to the problems, and that he hopes they will improve and give recognition to the media in the future. “I am grateful for the role the media, especially the Post, have played in helping our league standard improve,” he said.
Khek Ravy to step down as AFF VP
Recently ousted Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) vice president Khek Ravy is now considering resigning from his position as vice president of the Asean Football Federations (AFF). The move would take him away from football for the first time in over a decade, having previously held the FFC presidency from 1998 to 2006.
“I have met with Cambodia Federation President Sao Sokha already, and we will discuss further on the modalities,” Khek Ravy revealed Saturday. “I want to withdraw from the football scene to allow for change, but it depends.... My priority will be for the interest of Cambodia to be taken first, as I will not want to resign if my seat in AFF will be lost [to another nationality].”
Khek Ravy refuted claims he was kicked out from his FFC vice president position. “I lost in the election [August 27],” he said. “It is good for the game because the federation is experiencing an evolution.... There is a need for change.
“There is a new trend now in the federation to bring in people who are passionate about the game, so I have to give way for such people to come on board. I believe [it will] bring dynamism,” he added.
However, Khek Ravy maintained he would not be stepping away from the organisation completely. “As you can see, I am still around to help the federation whenever I am needed,” he assured. “My decision to step aside is for me to go into other ventures, as I have been in football long enough ... but I will continue to support them [the FFC].”
Khek Ravy voiced his confidence in his successor, Military Police Chief of Cabinet Kheiv Sameth. “I believe the federation is going to keep moving forward,” he said. “The new vice president is a good administrator and has great passion for the game. With his long-term relationship with the federation president [Sao Sokha], he has trust and will be able to move the federation forward from where I left it.”