Phnom Penh Crown’s past has come back to haunt them as their invitation to the Qualifying Round of the 2017 AFC Cup, due to start in August, has been withdrawn as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has a zero-tolerance policy towards match fixing.
Crown, one of the country’s leading football clubs, had four of its officials punished with suspensions earlier this year by the disciplinary committee of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) for alleged match fixing.
Responding to the AFC decision, the defending Metfone C-League champions posted an official statement on its Facebook page expressing extreme disappointment at the ruling.
Lodge an appeal
Crown, six-time winners of the league title, said it would lodge an appeal with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We appealed this decision direct to AFC on May 26 as we felt this was unjust against our club,” the Crown statement noted.
“We have done everything we possibly can to support the fight against corruption, cheating and match-manipulation, and we feel this decision sends out the wrong message to our own club and its supporters, to the whole of Cambodian football and to the wider world of football.”
In arriving at its decision, the AFC invoked one of its statutes that stipulates refusal of entry into any AFC competition to any club that is found guilty of match fixing.
When contacted by the Post yesterday, a spokesman for the FFC said it did not have the power of intervene but it did suggest to the AFC that it take a lenient view of the matter.
It pointed out that Phnom Penh Crown as a whole was being punished for the selfish and malicious actions of a few errant officials.
The AFC has confirmed that its decision was final and that the team would not be admitted to the AFC Cup 2017 playoff qualifiers.