For a small team like PPCFC from lowly-ranked Cambodia to take on such a formidable adversary in the form of the AFC was unheard of. You could liken it to the biblical proportions of David versus Goliath. PPCFC appointed Irish barrister and sports lawyer David Casserly (pictured above) as their go-to man. His involvement in several landmark cases and his experience acting for FIFA and UEFA, as well as several Champions League clubs in Italy, Portugal and France, was essential to any possibility of a successful appeal. He has a history of acting in leading corruption cases, foremost among them the World Cup vote-buying scandal, several of the key Bosman/Article 17 cases and disputes involving top players such as Luis Suarez, Pepe and Essien. He’d also previously acted as legal counsel and head of mediation at CAS itself. Assisting him was Jose Luis Andrade, a Portuguese attorney who had experience working on dispute resolution at FIFA.
At PPCFC, a small team of head coach Sam Schweingruber, general-secretary Ly Heang, press officer Andy Brouwer alongwith vice president Tommy Lim, provided Casserly and Andrade with the background information they needed to formulate their appeal against the AFC decision to deny PPCFC admission to the 2017 AFC Cup. Afterall, it was PPCFC who initially took internal action against match manipulation activities before placing the evidence with the FFC, who later banned four coaches. To punish the club for their proactive stance against such activities was the underlying unfairness of the AFC position.
The appeal case was heard by the CAS Arbitration Panel in their Lausanne headquarters on 19 August 2016. They found in favour of PPCFC, upholding the appeal, dismissed the decision of AFC and ordered them to allow PPCFC to participate in the AFC Cup Playoff Stage, likely to be held in February 2017. It was another successful landmark case for David Casserly and Jose Luis Andrade and an outcome that speaks volumes for the integrity and resourcefulness of PPCFC. They had stood their ground, taken on the might of AFC and won. History in the making and perhaps a result that a young shepherd boy with a slingshot would be proud of.