Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shame on Prek Pra

The outnumbered military police try in vain to control the situation in the grandstand
Prek Pra are well known for their vocal supporters and their large numbers of Muslim followers who come and watch all of their matches at the Olympic Stadium but what we witnessed at the end of yesterday's game has no place in football. Displeased with some of the match officials' decisions, a handful of Prek Pra followers decided to express their anger by throwing water bottles from the grandstand as the match ended and the players and officials were about to leave the pitch area. Players took cover as a barrage of water bottles rained down, injuring one of the ball-boys on the leg. As half a dozen military police moved in to stop the disturbance, it escalated and the police were surrounded, outnumbered and were forced to withdraw. The vociferous Prek Pra fans continued to voice their outrage which had now turned its wrath onto the police before the team's manager calmed the situation down and the fans dispersed. From my viewpoint, the fury displayed by a couple of females in the crowd egged on the others and the police then exposed themselves with their ineffectual handling of the situation. There were not enough police officers to handle the size of the crowd and their 'bull in a china shop' attempt to diffuse the angry fans only inflamed them. The whole episode brought considerable shame on the Prek Pra supporters and may necessitate segregating their fans at future matches. Football has appeared to act as a catalyst for the Muslim community in Prek Pra to openly display their support for the football team but yesterday exposed how easily that can be used as a vehicle for public disturbance, which is a road Cambodian football does not want to go down.
The Prek Pra manager El Fatel (in light shirt) confronts the Prek Pra followers
The Prek Pra crowd surge forward to confront the police with some of the agitators in shot
Confrontation in the main body of the grandstand as the police beat a hasty withdrawal
The helmeted military police move into the crowd to dispel the initial disturbance


GADAFFI said...

Andy lets not be hasty to condemn the act of the Prek Pra supporters. While I do not support any act of soccer hooliganism, the FFC needs to caution the Referees as more fans begin to support their teams fanatically, we cannot rule out such as what we witnessed in the last two weeks. The Police too need to be trained on how to manage crisis of this nature. Sometimes the way they rough handle even those of us who are press men is embarrasing

Andy Brouwer said...

Ken, I disagree. The Prek Pra followers started the trouble by throwing water-bottles. They struck a ball boy and had the players + officials running for cover. This is totally unacceptable, whatever the decisions by the match officials (inept or not). The police only made matters worse because they didn't know how to handle the situation properly and were under-manned.
Bottom-line is that the Prek Pra followers were acting violently and the police were justified in taking action. I saw enough violence in England first-hand at football matches during the 70s and 80s and I don't want to witness it again in Cambodia. It's a cancer on the face of football.
I expect the FFC to issue a stern warning to Prek Pra FC about the conduct of its fans in the future. The club knows who they are, their manager El Fatel was the one who calmed them down eventually, and if there is any more misbehaviour by them, the police must take much stronger action, as well as the FFC. I would also recommend segregation of the fans in future, if there is another such incident.

Sam Phallarith said...

Those fans were football matches u can't expect all decision goes ur ways.I my views some Cambodian fans do not understand the rule of football yet.they judge it themselves without knowing the rules.n referee a human being so human makes mistakes.I competed in Cambodia Futsal Cup last year n there were lots of wrong decisions went against my team but we got on with the game n respected the ref.I think referee deserves more respect for their hard job.

Anonymous said...

The loyal Prek Pra fans have the right to freely express their frustration and displeasure. The Military Police behaved like bulls in a china shop and should have kept their distance, especially given the passion and anger of the headscarf-wearing ladies - who support their team throughout every game, regardless of the score! Souhana, Hosan and Co need to start knocking in the goals to give their fans something good to cheer about!

Anonymous said...

Helmeted Military Police versus head-scarfed Prek Pra Ladies (with babes in arms) - now there's a fair match-up if ever there was one!

Andy Brouwer said...

Anon 1.11PM: No fans have the right to throw water-bottles at match officials or players. Or throw anything for that matter. Full stop. If you believe that what they did was acceptable, then you have no place being in a professional sporting environment in my opinion. You obviously don't understand how close they came to causing serious injury.