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Phnom Penh Crown sacks 9 players following AFC Hammer

By: Ken Gadaffi Posted: December-13-2011 in
2011 Metfone Cambodia League Champions clean out players after AFC Hammer
Ken Gadaffi

Nine Players of Reigning Metfone C-League champions Phnom Penh Crown FC were last week clamped with lenghty Bans by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) following their role in a fracas during the AFC President’s Cup final on September 25.
Striker Chan Chaya, San Narith and Defender Sun Sovannrithy were handed six-month suspensions from all football competition for assaulting the referee during the ugly scenes in Kaosiung, Taiwan.

Team-mates Kingsley Njoku, Hong Ratana, Sun Sopanha, Thul Sothearith, Soung Virak and goalkeeper Peng Bunchhay have been were banned from playing in their next eight domestic and international matches due to improper conduct and involvement in a Fracas.

The controversy occurred during the final against home team Taiwan Power Company, Hong Ratana was brought down in the penalty area under a recklesss tackle from defender Tu Ming-Feng. Rather than award a penalty which could have seen Crown draw level 3-3, Saudi Arabian referee Marai Mohammed Al-Awaji waved the game on, and Crown players allowed their tempers take the better of them.

Footage of the tackle and reaction by Crown players as seen on YouTube showed clearly that there was contact but that does not justify the players infraction thereafter.

In a Swift response to the ban, the club decided to distance itself from such behavior by terminating the contracts of the players involved.
The contracts of Chan Chaya, Peng Bunchhay, Hong Ratana, Sun Sopanha, Thul Sothearith and Suong Virak have been terminated with immediate effect, while Sun Sovanrith and San Narith have jumped ship to join arch-rivals Naga Corp. Kingsley Njoku’s contract has expired.

In a statement on the club website:, Crown president Rithy Samnan said “I was devastated by the reaction of some of my players in the AFC President’s Cup Final in Taiwan and have waited to hear the judgment from the AFC disciplinary committee.

“I want my team to play the game of football in the right way, to be an example to our Academy boys and the rest of the youth in Cambodia. This is a key element running through the backbone of Phnom Penh Crown FC.

“Everyone worked so hard last season to bring more success to the club, but the actions of some players have tarnished the reputation of the club, and Cambodian football, throughout Asia. This is why we have taken such robust decisions. We must remain strong and stop this from happening ever again.”

According to Phnom Penh Crown media officer Andy Brouwer, the club didn't want to pre-determine what the AFC would decide. They had already responded to the original AFC decisions, as the players were allowed to give their version of events, but needed to see who the AFC would act against before coming out with their decision which is in line with the club’s Zero Tolerance.
“ We basically felt we had to set the right example. We have to make a stand and drag Cambodian football into the professional era. Players and clubs have to be responsible for their actions” Andy Brouwer Explains the club’s position

Reaching the final of the AFC President’s Cup saw Crown set Cambodian club history, beating the previous best of a semifinal berth set by Khemera Keila FC in 2006.

With Crown retaining the league title in August, they will make their fourth appearance at the regional tournament next year. The group stage is slated for May at a venue to be announced.

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