So they've gone and done it. The football federation of Cambodia have reverted back to type and re-introduced the Super 4 play-offs for the end of the coming Metfone C-League season. This shambolic way of deciding the season's league champions goes against everything that football culture and tradition stands for. It's purely driven by greed, something that generates a lot of interest in administrative circles in this country. The 2009 and 2010 editions of the C-League were decided by play-offs and the two teams that finished top of the regular season campaign, and who should've been crowned as champions, lost out in this end-of-term free-for-all. In anyone's book, that simply isn't right or fair. First past the post rewards the best team. Yet the FFC have, in their skewed wisdom, decided that after last season, when Phnom Penh Crown won the title with a game to spare, that they want a return to the play-off format. This way of deciding the champions of a professional league is not followed in any country where football has a tradition, and where those traditions and values mean something. Forget that crap, say the FFC, we want more money. Their general secretary backs it up with; "This format is also used by leagues in other countries [such as the MLS in the US]." So that makes it okay because the money-grabbing, glory-hunters of the American mickey mouse league do it. How about taking the example of the Barclays Premier League or the Spanish La Liga, or the Italian Serie A as your benchmark Cambodia. He went onto say; "Our aim with the Super 4 playoffs is to attract more spectators nearing the end of the competition and to heighten the drama." Phnom Penh Crown for example were winners and losers when the play-offs were previously in place. They won the league in 2009 but lost out in sudden death, though they won the title in 2010 after finishing the regular league season in 4th spot. Effectively it becomes a lottery with the team on top of their game - in the right place at the right time - likely to take the top honour.
When asked why the FFC have declared the start of the C-League season just two weeks in advance - it's set to run from 3 March to 5 August - the general secretary pointed the finger at recent changes in schedules for international tournaments involving the Cambodian national team and clubs bound for regional competitions had forced such a late decison. "But every team should know that we always start sometime in March." Absolute crap. The FFC were making noises that the league would start in April or even May and then have this week decided to bring the start date forward, leaving the 10 teams scrambling around to finish their pre-season preparation and in some cases, sign players. The FFC knew the international schedule far in advance as well as when clubs like Crown and Preah Khan Reach would play overseas. He also came out with the priceless "inevitable" to describe the complete balls-up that sees the Cambodian U-21 team playing in a worthless tournament in Brunei, with a squad of 18 of the best young talent from six clubs, at exactly the same time as the league season commences at home. It's another inglorious example of the ineptitude of the federation that they don't know their arse from their elbow, let alone how to run a professional football competition. We saw that with the Hun Sen Cup fiasco and teams playing every two days, and now history is repeating itself with the forthcoming Metfone C-League.