About 40 Cambodian football referees passed a fitness test December 24 at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the start of the 2010 Samdech Hun Sen Cup on January 7. While the majority will be elligible to officiate at the national level, some referees achieved international qualifications from world governing body FIFA.
The test was held under the supervision of Japanese referee instructor Karakida Tetsu, an expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, who has been working with the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) for many years and received an official appointment in April 2008. Results from the tests have yet to be announced by the Asean Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation.
According to www.cen.com.kh, referees Chhun Try and Nuon Yinmoroath completed a FIFA course along with referee assistants Ly Ratana and Tuy Vichheka. At the same time, Thong Chanketya and Khoun Vireak were recognised by FIFA as international referees, joining Sreng Haody as the only three Cambodians that can officiate at official international competitions. Also, FIFA acknowledged Hun Samnang and Kim Sipisal as assistant referees to add to the list of Koung Ly, Duong Socheth and To Rithya.
Cambodian referees are often accused of bias and corruption by local football fans. However, FFC General Secretary Ouk Sethycheat maintained the professionalism of the officials.
“They’ve always tried their best,” he stated. “But nothing is perfect, not only in Cambodia but in the world. For the important matches in Phnom Penh [such as Cambodian Premier League and Samdech Hun Sen Cup ties], Japanese Karkida Tetsu always followed the activities on the field with his camera. He then held meetings with the referees after the match to highlight their errors.”