“When weekend comes!” I wish and I always go to the Olympic stadium to watch Cambodian premier league. Last Sunday I was an eyes witness again seeing a second match between Preah Khan Reach (National Military Police) team versus Khemara team. As a result PKR defeated Khemara 1 against 0 while the match seemed a bit brutal and the referee of the match seemed more likely to incline toward PKR; meanwhile, many of spectators shouted out: “It is not fair! Crazy referee!”. That is why at the end of the game after sunset, a Khemara goal keeper attempted to fight the field referee who was running away in the pitch, but his teammates and coaches were able to intervene and control the dispute. However spectators did not want to see any violence on the football pitch and I think that it is good an example for teammates and coaches to show their wills to stop violence for their audiences. While, I can compared to last year the same Sunday of second week and the month (November), there was a big fighting scandal on the pitch that BBU (Build Bright University) players were beaten by RCAF players who caused and by their coaches’ urging as well.
On the other hand, I find that the two main problems for some football referees, political trend and technical weakness.
1) Political trend: In recently years, some referees were more likely to lean to Khemara team who has been sponsored by the Prince Norodom Ranariddh who was an ex-NA president and an ex-president of National Olympic Committee. At the moment, some referees’ trend seems to turn to PKR team who is under supervision of HE Sao Sokha, National Military Police Commander and Cambodian Football Federation president, even though this is not under pressure from them.
2) Technical weakness: some referees are limitation of their capacity to judge in the pitch, as an experience last Sunday this match, after an each small infringement in the match, the referee did not tell the player’s mistake and with his gesture to let them recognize their fault for not doing like that again.
I know that it is very hard for you (referees) to judge fairly, but you should have feel confident yourself on pitch to be professional as judge in the court that it is time to use your power in the game to keep your reputation. I think these two points play a role essential support your ideas to reduce the brutal activities and battle in the pitch. Hence, Cambodian Football Federation strengthens its body by give these feedbacks to referees to be fair, its security and CFF also punishes seriously to anyone who uses violence on the pitch.
NOTE: This opinion was summaried and posted in the Letter to Editor of the Phnom Penh Post, page 6, Nov. 18, 2008. It is the same title: Football Referees Have To Judge Fairly On the Pitch.