Controversy surrounded Saturday’s dramatic conclusion of the 2011 Sport For All football tournament at Olympic Stadium with Akira FC accusing Khan Dangkor FC of illegally fielding a suspended player before staging a walk off, which resulted in a forfeit score of 6-1 being recorded.
Dangkor’s Lun Sambath netted his side’s third to put them 3-1 up with 10 minutes left of play. However, the midfielder had been sent off during their semifinal against Preah Khan Reach Vets and should have been banned from the final.
Akira accused their opponents of switching Lun Sambath’s shirt number, from 7 to 36, although their protests fell on deaf ears with the authorities doubling the Dangkor tally to six after Akira abandoned the game.
“The referee asked for my side to continue playing until the end of the match, even though there was this controversy,” said Akira manager Penh Narin.
“How could we continue the match even if we knew that our opponent was cheating by fielding a suspended player by simply changing his shirt number? I wonder why the tournament committee acted in this way and I don’t accept the result at all, even the prize. It is breaking the regulations of the event to win title.” Akira were to receive 800,000 riels (US$199) for their second placing.
Hem Darith, president of Khan Dangkor FC, meanwhile voiced his delight at their triumph. “It is a proud moment for our club in winning this title, while any accusations from Akira just excuses from the losers.”
A football official, who wished to remain anonymous, reasoned that a simple clerical error on the team sheet may have caused the controversy. He added that as the tournament was for amateur clubs only, rules and regulations were not so strictly enforced.
In Saturday’s earlier kick-off to decide third place, former champions Preah Khan Reach Vets beat ACLEDA Bank FC 4-2.