Fans of Phnom Penh Crown
will be scratching their heads at today's bombshell news that their favourite club have sacked six of their 1st-team squad of players for disciplinary reasons. The players concerned have been found guilty of serious misconduct and brawling and the club felt it must set an example and terminate their contracts immediately. The misdemeanors were carried out at what should have been the club's finest hour, the AFC President's Cup Final in Taiwan in late September. Instead, Crown went down 3-2 and not without a fight, quite literally. Three players were red-carded for pushing the match referee in the chest and then as the final whistle blew, players from both sides joined in a free-for-all brawl on the pitch. All of the action was caught on camera and that was just the evidence the AFC Disciplinary Committee needed to charge six Crown players with fighting. All 9 Crown players were deemed to have tarnished the club's reputation, and that of Cambodian football, and have now been shown the door by the club's management (3 of them having already left). For the fans, they feel hard done by. The television coverage showed a blatant penalty in the closing moments, which triggered the pushing of the referee, but in the official's report, he said he had already stopped play for a handball. So with the AFC backing him to the hilt, it was the Crown players who didn't have a leg to stand on. As for the brawling after the game, though it was clearly started by the Taiwan team, there is no word on whether the Taiwanese will be punished, so the Crown fans can only see their team put upon again in their eyes. The unusually strong stance taken by the Crown management just makes it even harder to bear. For their part, Crown feel they must set an example that this lack of self-control and rowdy behaviour amongst the players will not be tolerated, even if it means the club have dismissed some of the country's best talent. That is the price they feel is worth it, if it sends out a message to Cambodian football, to clean up its act. For many fans they feel it's a double-whammy, losing the final in controversial circumstances and now losing some of their stars. Certainly it's a tough lesson to learn for all.
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown