National Police Football Coach Banned for Life for Match Fixing

The coach of the National Police football team has been banned from professional football for life over his involvement in fixing an under-19 international match between Australia and Laos, the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) said on Thursday.

Peas Sothy and Hang Sokunthea were named in a statement released on Wednesday by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announcing that the two Cambodians had been banned for life for throwing matches along with 20 players from Laos.

National Police goalkeeper Yoshida Yasuyuki saves a shot in the first half of the team’s match with Phnom Penh Crown at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium (Alex Consiglio/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Sothy, the coach of professional C-League side National Police FC, is accused of being involved in manipulating a match between Australia and Laos under-19s in September, FFC spokesman May Tola said.

The two sides met on September 20 in a match that resulted in Australia winning 2-1.

“We received a letter from the AFC but they did not give details. It only mentioned in the letter that he is accused of influencing that match,” Mr. Tola said.

Mr. Sothy will be removed from his paid role as National Police coach unless the decision is overturned on appeal, he added.

Contacted by telephone on Thursday, Mr. Sothy denied the accusations.

“They said I went to watch that game and prepared that game when I don’t know anything at all,” Mr. Sothy said. “The game was in Laos and we were in Cambodia. Why have they accused us of preparing such a thing?”

Mr. Sothy accused the AFC of having no evidence and claimed they were ruining his career, adding that he was preparing an appeal.

“I’m against this because the punishment was made without proof,” he said.

“I made my career as a football coach and if they don’t allow me to work, I’ll be finished. What am I going to do? Be a motodop driver? Be a cyclo driver?”

Meanwhile, Mr. Sokunthea, a retired former national team player, was found by the AFC to have been involved in widespread match fixing in Laos, Mr. Tola said.

This is not the first match- fixing scandal to rock Cambodian football. In 2015, seven players and four officials from Phnom Penh Crown were suspended after the club uncovered a plot by the head of its youth academy to persuade first-team players to throw matches in an effort to have the coach sacked.

The AFC initially banned the club from the AFC Cup due to its no-tolerance policy on match-fixing, but later overturned the decision.

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