Monday, August 29, 2016

A Story of Biblical Proportions

David Casserly - PPCFC's lawyer
When Phnom Penh Crown (PPCFC) were smacked with a ban from the AFC Cup, which should’ve been their icing on the cake for winning the Metfone Cambodian League at the end of last year, they were devastated and in disbelief. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) - the governing body for football in the Asian continent - informed the Cambodian Football Federation (FFC) on 20 May 2016 that PPCFC were not allowed to take part because of activities relating to match manipulation and they asked FFC to select another team. With their hard-earned prize torn from their grasp, PPCFC immediately appealed against the ban only for AFC to confirm their decision was final. On 3 June PPCFC made a last-ditch appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), often referred to as ‘sport’s supreme court,’ in an effort to overturn what they saw as an unfair and unjust decision by AFC. CAS is located in Lausanne in Switzerland and resolves sports-related disputes through arbitration, often involving such high-profile names as Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini, Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, Maria Sharapova and dozens of athletes at the recent Rio Olympics.

For a small team like PPCFC from lowly-ranked Cambodia to take on such a formidable adversary in the form of the AFC was unheard of. You could liken it to the biblical proportions of David versus Goliath. PPCFC appointed Irish barrister and sports lawyer David Casserly (pictured above) as their go-to man. His involvement in several landmark cases and his experience acting for FIFA and UEFA, as well as several Champions League clubs in Italy, Portugal and France, was essential to any possibility of a successful appeal. He has a history of acting in leading corruption cases, foremost among them the World Cup vote-buying scandal, several of the key Bosman/Article 17 cases and disputes involving top players such as Luis Suarez, Pepe and Essien. He’d also previously acted as legal counsel and head of mediation at CAS itself. Assisting him was Jose Luis Andrade, a Portuguese attorney who had experience working on dispute resolution at FIFA.

At PPCFC, a small team of head coach Sam Schweingruber, general-secretary Ly Heang, press officer Andy Brouwer alongwith vice president Tommy Lim, provided Casserly and Andrade with the background information they needed to formulate their appeal against the AFC decision to deny PPCFC admission to the 2017 AFC Cup. Afterall, it was PPCFC who initially took internal action against match manipulation activities before placing the evidence with the FFC, who later banned four coaches. To punish the club for their proactive stance against such activities was the underlying unfairness of the AFC position.

The appeal case was heard by the CAS Arbitration Panel in their Lausanne headquarters on 19 August 2016. They found in favour of PPCFC, upholding the appeal, dismissed the decision of AFC and ordered them to allow PPCFC to participate in the AFC Cup Playoff Stage, likely to be held in February 2017. It was another successful landmark case for David Casserly and Jose Luis Andrade and an outcome that speaks volumes for the integrity and resourcefulness of PPCFC. They had stood their ground, taken on the might of AFC and won. History in the making and perhaps a result that a young shepherd boy with a slingshot would be proud of.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Media on CAS ruling

The local media picked up the story of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) ruling that PPCFC should be allowed to participate in the 2017 edition of the AFC Cup, by upholding our appeal against the decision of the AFC to refuse us admission, despite the club being the Cambodian champions. We will now join the competition at the Playoff Stage, likely to be held in February next year. 
CAS provides international sport with an independent authority specialising in sports-related disputes and is seen as the last possible decision maker on a variety of sporting issues. Their headquarters, where our case was heard, is in Switzerland. Here are some of the media articles:
[in English]…/crown-allowed-2017-afc-cup-a…
[in English]…/phnom-penh-crowns-match-fix…/
[in English]…/birthday-boy-udom-dampens-cr…/…

Saturday, August 27, 2016

442 Magazine on Sam & PPCFC

FourFourTwo is the world’s biggest football magazine and they published this article on head coach Sam Schweingruber and PPCFC back in April 2016, just after Sam's return to the club following his rehabilitation in Switzerland. He is fortunate to be alive - his instinct for survival has much to do with him being here today. The story, written by Scott McIntyre, is worth repeating again and again. If you aren't prepared to stand up for what you believe in, don't bother standing up at all.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

League Table (Round 17 for most clubs)

The Metfone C-League may be completed for PPCFC after last night's game, but the other 9 teams have matches still left to play. Svay Rieng will meet Western on 6 Sept which will determine their final position, whilst the rest of the games will be played on 9 and 10 Sept. The champion spot is still to be decided between Boeungket and Army, while the 2 relegation places are between three clubs. Here is the latest C-League table:

World Soccer Magazine on PPCFC

World Soccer Magazine is the unrivalled authority on the game of soccer around the world. The best writers, analytical features and the inside-track on domestic and world football have made World Soccer an institution. In it's latest edition for September, Christian Radnedge looks at PPCFC's fight to clear its name after our ban from the AFC Cup, by taking our case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. CAS upheld our appeal and we will enter the AFC Cup early next year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Final game ends in defeat

PPCFC vs Svay Rieng, Lost 2-3, back row, LtoR: Soksela, Kim, Thierry, Aymard, Jang, Boris. Front: Sothy, Pissa, Sokpheng, Baraing, Makara.
Wednesday 24 August 2016: Phnom Penh Crown 2 PKR Svay Rieng 3 (Metfone C-League Round 18).
Crown came away from Svay Rieng disappointed at not bringing back at least a point from their final league game of the 2016 season. They deserved it with a battling performance. The visitors began on the front foot and had Svay Rieng pinned back for the opening five minutes but it was the home side who took the lead in the 10th minute when Hoy Phallin fired past Keo Soksela after Obi Moneke had created the space. Kim Hyeon Woo netted only to be flagged offside and then somehow screwed his shot wide from close range after Keo Sokpheng’s weaving run on the left. On 29 minutes Prak Mony Udom scored an unstoppable free-kick from 23 yards to put the home team further ahead. The game continued to provide talking points when Kim was felled twice in the penalty box, Bin Thierry got behind the defence but blasted high and wide and Sokpheng’s free-kick was scrambled wide at the foot of the post. An even first half had seen SVR take their chances to lead 2-nil.
Jang In Yong continued to be a threat but blasted over on the restart, while another Udom free-kick had Soksela scuttling to his near post. A scuffle between Kok Boris and Lee Jongho saw both players cautioned, though two SVR substitutes that joined in the commotion went unpunished. Thierry failed to connect with any power when Sokpheng’s corner fell to him but Crown were back in the game on 67 minutes. Jang’s bustling run between three defenders wrong-footed the SVR defence and Sokpheng dispatched the pull-back with accuracy. PPCFC were on top at this point and a Thierry free-kick was back-headed goalwards by Jang only for the home keeper to produce a flying one-handed save. The home side then broke quickly and a foul on the edge of the area gave Udom the opportunity to find the net with a second free-kick that Soksela couldn’t keep out. A third goal against the run of play was a tough pill to swallow. Crown rallied, with Anthony Aymard heading over and a Thierry corner going through a host of bodies in the six-yard box. Crown did pull a goal back, four minutes into stoppage time, when Boris finished off a powerful run with an accurate shot from distance, but it was too late to repair the damage as the season came to a close with defeat.
PPCFC Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his views after the final whistle. “Our defensive organisation wasn’t quite right at the start, they threatened us with their speed and it took us a while to adjust. We went 1-nil down but we had quite a few chances, especially one for Kim, so you would’ve expected us to go to half-time with a better result. Quite a few moments when on a good day we would have scored more goals and actually won the game. Fortunately for SVR, Udom scored two good free-kicks that helped them get the win. The first free-kick, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop that. No goalkeeper can stop that one. The second free-kick, we have to do better and we will re-evaluate that with our goalkeeping coach. As for SVR’s third goal, that was not really fair as we’d had a few good attacking moves before that, and that goal hurt us.
Jang had good speed and touches today, very good to see. Sokpheng was good as well, a neat finish and good moments with his movement and intentions. The attitude of Baraing was very good, he’s a 16-year-old boy but his energy and intentions to attack is very encouraging as that kind of attitude will help us to be champions again in the future.”

Crown Appeal to CAS upheld

Phnom Penh Crown Club Statement : Dated 24 August 2016:
Phnom Penh Crown Football Club is very pleased to announce that the club will be allowed to participate in the 2017 AFC Cup following our appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
On 20 May 2016 the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that PPCFC was refused admission to compete in the 2017 AFC Cup, despite being the Champions of the Metfone Cambodian League in 2015.
PPCFC appealed against the AFC decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland on 3 June 2016.
Following a hearing at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on 19 August 2016, CAS upheld the club’s appeal, dismissed the decision of AFC, and ordered AFC to allow PPCFC to participate in the AFC Cup 2017.
PPCFC will consequently be admitted to participate in the AFC Cup Playoff Stage, likely to be held in February 2017.
PPCFC would like to express its appreciation to the CAS Arbitration Panel for their integrity and fairness and to its lawyers, Mr David Casserly and Mr Jose Luis Andrade, for their utmost professionalism and tireless efforts in this matter on our behalf.
Andy Brouwer
Press Officer
RSN Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sunday, August 7, 2016

MCL Results

Metfone C-League Results:
(Fri) AEU 1 (Sopanha) PKR Svay Rieng 3 (Samoeung, Kipson, Tola)
(Sat) Western 1 (Rany) Nat Police 5 (Osei Tutu 3, Dina 2)
(Sat) CMAC 0 PPCFC 4 (Bisan 2, Aymard, Kim H-W)
(Sun) Army 1 (Chol) Cambodian Tiger 0
(Sun) Boeungket 0 Nagaworld 0.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Win over CMAC

Match Report: PPCFC 4 CMAC United 0 (Metfone C-League):
Two goals in each half saw Crown deservedly collect the points tonight at Olympic Stadium. George Bisan headed PPCFC in front with their first real attack, with Keo Sokpheng's center clearing the last man and Bisan directing his header inside the far post on 16 minutes. Sokpheng blasted high after scurrying into the area and another Bisan effort was cleared off the goal-line. Jang In Yong headed over and Bisan was denied with a flying save by the CMAC keeper before Crown scored their second goal ten minutes before the break. Anthony Aymard outjumped the defence and guided his header into the net from Sokpheng's inch-perfect corner.
After the break, Chhom Pisa's snap-shot was cleared off the line before Crown's teenage goalkeeper Keo Soksela foiled CMAC's Va Bottroi on two occasions with fabulous reflex saves. PPCFC continued to spurn good opportunities through Bisan and Sokpheng before Soksela saved at full stretch from Timothy Okereke. Sub Kim Hyeon Woo raced clear from the half-way line only to scuff his shot, and was then tripped as he shaped to shoot, but not in the eyes of the referee. In the final minute and with CMAC visibly tiring, Keo Sokngon and Yeu Muslim set up Bisan for his second headed goal of the game. Three minutes into time added-on, Sokngon released Kim and he drilled the ball in from twelve yards for number four. There was still time for the upright to deny Bisan his hat-trick with the last kick of the game. 4-0 and a job well done.
PPCFC line-up, back row, LtoR: Soksela, Jang, Aymard, Thierry, Bisan, Boris. Front: Chanpolin, Pisa, Makara, Sokpheng, Baraing.

PPCFC head coach Sam Schweingruber's thoughts after yesterday's success over CMAC: "We were hoping to score some goals and keep a clean sheet, so our objectives were achieved. We also expected to dominate the 2nd-half as the other team tired and at the end we should've scored more goals. All in all it was one of those performances where it didn't all go great, we had a few chances, some good moments and I'm happy that we are scoring more goals in the air, three more today, one of the things we talked about - but a few other things we have to do a lot better against Boeungket next week to get a win."
Watch the video highlights from PPCFC's 4-0 success over CMAC at Olympic Stadium on the club's YouTube channel @
In the final moments of PPCFC's 4-0 victory over CMAC, Keo Sokngon suffered a leg injury which required him to attend a medical clinic straight from the stadium. We will know more about the extent of the injury tomorrow. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
One of our prize winners from the most recent Facebook competition - to win a PPCFC jersey signed by Keo Sokpheng - was at Olympic Stadium to receive her jersey. Congratulations to Leap Derrella.

Academy win

Result: PPCFC Academy U-14 4 Next Step 1 (Friendly).
In a game of 3 x 25 minute halves, Siem Reap's Next Step took the lead ten minutes into the second period with a breakaway goal. In the third period, Crown made their fitness and superiority count after Lim Pisoth headed against the bar. On 55 minutes, Pisoth's 20-yard free-kick curled into the top corner for the equaliser. Three minutes later, his pass allowed Ros Darapich space to fire his team ahead. Sin Kakada's cameo performance was topped off with a fine solo goal on 61 minutes, before Ky Rina finished with ease, on 67 minutes, to give Crown a 4-1 success.
PPCFC starting XI, LtoR: Rina, Sochea, Sovanmakara, Pisoth, Sokly, Laiheang, Darapich, Nakha, Navin, Vutha, Roza.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Booysen to return

Last season’s joint top goalscorer and fans’ favourite, Shane Booysen, is nearly five months into his rehabilitation after a serious ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operation. Shane suffered the injury to his knee in the first minute of the match with National Police on 26 February. The operation to both knees took place on 13 April at the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town. One knee incision was to use ligament tissue to repair his ACL on the other knee. Shane had to use a wheelchair and stay off his feet for two weeks before being allowed to use crutches to walk. The doctor allowed him to begin movement exercises five weeks after the operation, which included knee, thigh and hamstring strengthening and cycling in the gym. Whilst the usual recovery period for an ACL can be between 6 and 9 months, it depends on the rehabilitation and the discipline of the player involved. The latest doctor’s report is positive as far as Shane is concerned, though he still has up to four more months of physical therapy work ahead of him. Shane is looking forward to returning to Phnom Penh before the end of this month, and was keen to say a big thank you to his family and friends in his hometown for their support and encouragement, as well as the messages of support that have flooded in from Cambodia while he has been recovering at home. “Being out of action for a whole season is frustrating and to be honest, staying mentally strong and focused isn't easy but with the support of my family things went smoothly and I'm becoming stronger every day. I can't wait to come back and get stronger because I know my role in the team is important, so focusing on next season is my main priority.” Everyone is looking forward to Shane's return to PPCFC. Picture of Shane as he walks out for the National Police match (by Oung Pannhapich).

U-13s come home

The Cambodia U-13 national team have returned from China after competing in the Soong Ching Ling Cup China-Asean Youth tournament. The 4 PPCFC Academy boys (pictured; Laiheang, Makara, Ladin, Phanny) arrived earlier this morning and informed us of the following results:
Cambodia vs China Lost 1-2; vs Thailand Lost 1-2; vs Laos Lost 0-7; vs Indonesia Lost 1-5; vs Vietnam Won 5-0 (Cambodia finished in 9th place). Yim Makara scored 5 goals and Sem Phanny 2 goals. Cambodia also won the Fair Play award.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

MCL Fixture changes

As we expect a large number of PPCFC's younger players to be involved in the AFF U-19 Youth Championships being held in Vietnam in September, the FFC have agreed for Crown to change their remaining fixtures to the following, which means we will finish more than 2 weeks before everyone else:
Sat 6 Aug vs CMAC @ Olympic Stadium 6pm
Sun 14 Aug vs Boeungket @ Olympic Stadium 6pm ##
Wed 17 Aug vs Western @ RSN Stadium 6pm
Sat 20 Aug vs AEU @ Olympic Stadium 6pm
Wed 24 Aug vs PKR Svay Rieng @ Svay Rieng 6pm ##
(## amended fixtures).
The MCL fixtures are due to be completed on Sat 10 September.
Photo courtesy of Oung Pannhapich.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Next Step

Our friends from Next Step FC in Siem Reap will be coming to Phnom Penh tomorrow to train and play two matches against PPCFC teams. On Friday (5 August) at 8am on the RSN training pitch, Next Step U-16s will face a PPCFC Community U-14 team. On Saturday (6 August) at 8am on the RSN training pitch, The PPCFC Academy U-14 team will meet the visitors. Both promise to be entertaining matches. Next Step are providing a base for young footballers in Siem Reap to learn their trade at their school of excellence, both boys and girls, and have already enjoyed success by winning the U-14 ISF title. We wish them an enjoyable trip to the capital.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Comp winners

We had a FAN-tastic response to our competition to win a signed PPCFC jersey by our trio of Cambodia National Team players - Bin Thierry, Keo Soksela and Keo Sokpheng. Thank you to everyone for joining in the fun.
We have chosen at random 1 winner for each jersey, who they named as their favourite player, and the lucky winners are:
Ve Haa [pictured above] - (Bin Thierry)
Jee Lin - (Keo Soksela - it's his birthday today!)
Leap Derrella - (Keo Sokpheng).
The winners have been invited to collect their prizes from Keo Sokpheng himself at half-time during this evening's MCL match against the Army at RSN Stadium (kick-off 6pm).
Thank you again for supporting PPCFC and Cambodian football. Pictures below by Vandy Snapper.

Results MCL

Sunday and Monday night results from the Metfone C-League. The program has been changed so we are no longer in tandem with round 14 as we should be, primarily as Western were allowed to go to a university tournament in Singapore.
(Sun) National Police 1 (Dina) CMAC 0
(Sun) Boeungket 5 (Kazuki, Bata, Gbenga 2, Vathanaka) Cambodian Tiger 1 (Masato)
(Mon) Nagaworld 5 (Sovannara, Kelechi 2, Omokafe, Manorotin) AEU 1 (Njoku)
(Mon) PPCFC 0 Army 1 (Kim K-H).

Monday, August 1, 2016


A reminder that at tonight's match - PPCFC vs Army, kick-off at 6pm at RSN Stadium - we will welcome many Korean nationals as they celebrate 'Korea Day' at the game. PPCFC's two South Korean players, Jang In Yong and Kim Hyeon Woo, will be joined on the pitch by the quartet of North Korean players in the Army team. Cambodia's Korean community will provide entertainment before the match (a female and male singing & dancing group, Superior F from K've Entertainment), during half-time (an exhibition of Kyeong Mu Do martial arts) as well as providing free samples of sparkling rice wine in a celebration of all-things Korean.
A big thank you to two of our competition winners - Jee Lin (pictured) and Ve Haa - for coming to tonight's match and collecting their prizes, signed PPCFC jerseys, from our suspended striker Keo Sokpheng at half-time. We had a FAN-tastic response to our latest competition and thanks to Sokpheng for joining in the presentation. Watch out for our next competition, coming soon.

Crown gunned down by Army

Match Report: PPCFC 0 Army 1 (Metfone C-League).
Crown suffered a 1-nil defeat in a closely-contested game at RSN Stadium this evening, as Army continued their quest for the title. The goal that separated the teams came on 62 minutes as Kim Kyong Hun, lying on the ground, poked the ball into an empty net after coming off best in a challenge with goalkeeper Keo Soksela. The Crown stopper, on his birthday, pulled off a great 1-handed save from the lively Choe Myong Ho after ten minutes of the game's start. At the other end Kim Hyeon Woo was inches away from sending a header on target but it was the visitors who shaded possession in the first-half and saw drives from Kim and Chreng Polroth just clear the cross-bar.
Crown began the second-half on the offensive as Jang In Yong's low drive was held by goalkeeper Um Vichet, who also grabbed George Bisan's shot on the goal-line, moments after a goal-mouth scramble saw Pov Ponvuthy and Kim Hyeon Woo denied by a wall of Army defenders. Army got their noses in front and Soksela was forced to make fine saves from Reung Bunheing and Choe, as Army stayed firm to take the points and keep their title challenge alive. For Crown, they have five games remaining to improve their league position, which is currently sixth. 
Above: PPCFC line-up, back row, LtoR: Soksela, Kim, Thierry, Aymard, Bisan, Boris. Front: Jang, Makara, Ponvuthy, Baraing, Sodavid.
Head coach Sam Schweingruber gave his view of PPCFC's performance against Army in last night's 1-0 home defeat. "We played a good team who were organised and fit and for most of the game, were as good as us. Even though we are unhappy with the result, its not that we deserved to win the game. I feel we took some risks in our selection and how we wanted to play, and after some changes in the second-half, for the first ten minutes we dominated and had 3 chances that we could've scored. If we had scored, we would've won the game but we couldn't score, and in a pretty even game we unfortunately lost. For the goal I have to look at the replay, it looked touch and go. It reminded me of the goal we conceded against Army in a friendly and I showed that to the team so we didn't concede it again, so I'm obviously disappointed with the goal that decided the game."
The video highlights from PPCFC's 1-0 defeat to Army this evening are on the club's YouTube channel @