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Saturday, May 12, 2012
Can Cambodia host?
Major surgery at the Olympic Stadium would be required
Could Cambodia host the AFC President's Cup final stage? That was a question on many lips both last year and again this year, once Phnom Penh Crown made it through to the final round. It's not inconceivable, especially as the likelihood is that four of the probable finalists this year have hosted the final stage before. AFC are keen to take the final to a new country every year, which may leave the door ajar for Cambodia. But is it that simple? The quick answer is no, it's not. Whilst the AFC provide a lump sum of money to the host national federation to stage the finals, they also expect suitable standards when it comes to playing facilities and so on. And that's essentially where Cambodia falls down. A few things that readily spring to mind that would have to improve dramatically would be the floodlights, which simply do not achieve the necessary lux value (measuring the illumination of the lights at the stadium) to stage international matches, and games in the final stage are played at night. The dressing rooms for the teams and match officials would need a complete overhaul, with proper shower and toilet facilities installed for starters. The current dressing rooms at the Olympic Stadium are totally unsuitable. The press facilities, with internet connections and work stations, are non-existent at present and would need serious attention, as would controlled entry and exit points for spectators at the stadium. And I haven't even mentioned the pitch itself, which we have all seen this week, finds it very hard to cope with a downpour. These points and others would need to be addressed and corrected before the AFC could feasibly agree to staging the six-team finals and seven matches that would be required at the Olympic Stadium, in my opinion. And all of that would require a serious investment of cash to bring the facilities up to a basic acceptable standard.