The ad hoc panel set up by the Football Federation of Cambodia to thoroughly probe the indefinite suspensions imposed by Phnom Penh Crown Football Club on seven players and four officials for the alleged manipulation of matches during the Metfone C League season will submit its findings within the next two weeks to aid the disciplinary committee in making its final verdict on the case.
Earlier this month, Crown’s management announced the suspensions following the club’s own line of investigation into what it said were attempts by individuals to influence the results of several matches to tarnish coach Sam Schweingruber’s record.
In the wake of these serious charges, which the seven players and four officials vehemently deny, the club also claimed that it had audio recordings of incriminating conversations that clearly revealed the group’s ulterior motives.
As a followup, Crown had handed over the recordings and its internal probe report to the FFC for further action.
According to a source seeking anonymity who is close to the ad hoc panel’s deliberations, the recordings seemingly sounded authentic and several voices heard had been positively identified.
The Post has reliably learnt that panel members felt it was not merely about soundbites but intent and how serious those discussions were and what actions followed them on the pitch.
Meanwhile, FFC Spokesman May Tola told the Post yesterday that the panel will be following a process of due diligence and give every party involved a fair chance to represent their case
“These are very serious charges and we have to be as thorough in our investigation as possible. At the same time, we have to give a fair trial to these players and officials and that is why each and every one of the 11 will be heard by the panel,” May Tola said. “
“We expect this interim report to be presented to the FFC disciplinary committee in a week to 10 days, after which the final decision on the case will be made”, he said.
“If in the proceedings names of other individuals or clubs come up then we will not hesitate to include them in our probe”, he added.
An investigative expert who has handled similar cases in the past indicated that, solely on the voices heard and words exchanged in a recorded conversation, it would be hard to establish guilt without matching circumstantial or trace evidence, like a money trail, something even Crown admitted did not exist in this case.