The 2013 Metfone C-League football season, which has so far run two weeks, takes a long breather until February 23 for two compelling reasons.
First and most poignant is the final week of mourning and funeral ceremony on February 4 for the country’s beloved King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who passed away in October.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to pour into Phnom Penh to show their respect and affection for the late King Father, who himself was a passionate sports lover and one of the biggest supporters of Cambodian sports.
Whatever the rationale behind the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) advancing the league season from mid to late March to early January this year, there is this inevitable consequence of the country’s premier open tournament the Hun Sen Cup overlapping with the league schedule.
With the Cup quarter-finals filled with league teams, the final phase of this coveted event takes precedence and occupies the second week of February during which the semi-finals and the final will be played. The league resumes a week after the Cup winds up.
The junior string of the top flight club Preah Khan Reach are set break new ground when the under-19s open their campaign in the Vietnam League for that age group today even as the Military Police-backed side takes a shot at the Malaysian FA Cup in the next couple of days before flying back for a Hun Sen Cup game against archrivals Phnom Penh Crown for a quarter-final place.
The Ministry of National Defence were relieved to know that the Disciplinary Committee singled out only two team officials, slapping them with two-match suspensions for the fracas over an off-side tainted goal in favour of National Police that eventually led to the MND players leaving the pitch.
As per the prevalent rules, MND were docked a three-goal penalty for defaulting the game, making it a 5-0 win for the Police, who led 2-0 at the time of the MND walkout, including that controversial goal.
A spokesman for the FFC said the committee, while acting on the referee’s report, also considered all other aspects of the case with due dilligence before taking this punitive step.
“We have informed each and every club that protest walkouts will not be tolerated, and teams resorting to such extremes should bear the consequences of their action,” FFC spokesman May Tola told the Post.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]