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Sunday, April 28, 2013
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.