Sunday, April 28, 2013

Courting disaster

Phnom Penh Crown players leave the pitch yesterday. Photo courtesy of Sovanna Kem.
Two Phnom Penh Crown players, Bin Thierry (9) and Leng Makara (23) leave the pitch at half-time in yesterday's league match played at the Olympic Stadium. Very heavy rain had begun to fall midway through the first half of the match against Kirivong but when the lightning thunderbolts arrived with extremely loud claps of thunder, I fully expected the match officials to take the players off the pitch. Fat chance. Referee Khuon Virak told them to get on with it, with lightning flashing all around the vicinity of the stadium. In my opinion, his actions were totally irresponsible. As were those of the match commissioner who should've over-ruled his match officials and called the players off the park. They were sitting ducks for a lightning strike. It's happened before, 3 players were killed by lightning in 2008, so why didn't yesterday's officials learn from past mistakes? It's not rocket-science. Lightning kills hundreds of people each year in Cambodia. Everyone knows not to stand outside when lightning strikes, yet the referee felt he knew better. At the very least, he should be reprimanded by the Football Federation for his irresponsible behaviour. Then blow me down, it happened again, this afternoon. The loudest lightning/thunder strike touched down just outside the stadium and the force knocked at least three players to the floor. The referee was unmoved and simply carried on. I even heard people in the stands laughing. This has got to stop before someone is killed. I would expect all clubs to file complaints with the Federation to ensure this doesn't happen again.

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