Each weekend I go to the Olympic Stadium to watch the Cambodian Premier League. Last Sunday, I was at the match between Preah Khan Reach (National Military Police) and Khemara, in which PKR defeated Khemara 1-0.
However, the match seemed a bit brutal and the referee seemed to be favouring PKR, causing many of the spectators to shout out: "It is not fair! Crazy referee!"
That is why at the end of the game after sunset, a Khemara goalkeeper attempted to attack the field referee as he was running away on the pitch, although his teammates and coaches were able to intervene and stop him.
I find that there are two main problems for some football referees: political bias and technical weakness.
1) Political bias: in recent years, some referees were more likely to lean towards Khemara, which has been sponsored by Prince Norodom Ranariddh - an ex-NA president and ex-president of the National Olympic Committee.
But at the moment, some referees' bias seems to be in favour of PKR, which is under the supervision of HE Sao Sokha, National Police Commander and president of the Cambodian Football Federation.
2) Technical weakness: some referees are limited by their capacity to judge on the pitch, as experienced in last Sunday's match. After each small infringement, the referee did not tell the players what their mistakes were, so as to prevent them from doing it again.
I know that it is very hard for you (referees) to judge fairly, but you should be confident enough on the pitch to judge professionally and use your power to maintain your standing in the game. I think these two points play a role, but you should uphold your role of reducing brutal activities and fights on the pitch. Hence, the Cambodian Football Federation should encourage referees to be fair, provide on-pitch security and punish seriously anyone who uses violence on the pitch.
Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.