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Metfone signs $1.5m deal to sponsor football federation

Metfone signs $1.5m deal to sponsor football federation

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FFC President Sao Sokha (left) and Metfone Director Nguyen Duy Tho exchange signed contracts Wednesday morning during the official signing ceremony of their US$1.5 million Cambodian football sponsorship deal at the Hotel InterContinental.

Telecom company approves three-year deal with the FFC for exclusive rights to the Cambodian Premier League, which will be renamed the Metfone C-League

METFONE, the Cambodian subsidiary of Vietnamese telecom company Viettel, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal worth US$1.5 million with the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), officially announced Wednesday morning at a signing ceremony at the Hotel InterContinental.

During his address, FFC President Sao Sokha said that this substantial contribution from Metfone will greatly assist the federation's development of football and its infrastructure in the Kingdom, adding that a portion of the money will be used to relocate the National Football Centre.

According to the president, the existing centre, built in 2003 approximately 14 kilometres outside of Phnom Penh along National Highway 4, was often flooded during the monsoon season and was too small to accommodate more than a single pitch. A 52-hectare site (compared to just 3 hectares at the old location) has been chosen in Takeo's Bati district, around 40 kilometres south of the capital, where a large, modern facility will be constructed accompanied by four football pitches at a cost suggested to be around US$260,000.

"Without a [new] football center, I don't think football in Cambodia can grow," Sao Sokha opined.

The federation president stated that the Metfone sponsorship will also fund the training of the under-19 national team, as well as the U-23 squad, who are in preparation for a match in September in Ho Chi Minh City and the upcoming SEA Games in Laos in December.

CPL to be renamed in 2010
With the sponsorship deal, the FFC has given Metfone exclusive rights to commission the domestic Cambodian Premier League, which will be renamed the Metfone C-League from 2010-12, as well as numerous other football matches during this period.

However, Sao Sokha stated that from 2010, the FFC will allow all football clubs to find their own sponsors, something they have previously been prohibited from doing, which could prove vital for a team's survival in an increasingly competitive league. It is unclear as to whether clubs with existing branding such as Phnom Penh Crown and Naga Corp will opt for additional shirt sponsorship. The FFC president also confirmed that ticket sales generated from each match at Olympic Stadium will be shared equally between the clubs.

Sao Sokha noted that the amounts presently involved in Cambodian football are significantly less than neighbouring Vietnam.
"The annual budget of the FFC is around $1 million," he said. "[This is] less than the budget of just one football club in Vietnam."

Metfone, launched in February this year, has about 2 million current users. So far, Metfone has provided $5 million for Internet access to over a thousand schools nationwide for the next five years.

Nguyen Duy Tho, director of Metfone, said at the telecom company will also provide free Internet service to the FFC and will contribute to the future construction of a sports training centre for disabled athletes.

"Metfone will continue to sponsor other sports in Cambodia, as well as Cambodian athletes training overseas," said Nguyen Duy Tho.

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