August 29 – Cambodian champions Phnom Penh Crown FC have won their appeal at the Court for Arbitraton for Sports (CAS) to be readmitted to the next qualifying stage of the 2017 AFC Cup, according to a report from the club. CAS have yet to release a statement.
The decision creates a fixture issue as the qualifying group stages have begun with Nagaworld FC, who replaced Metfone C-League champions Phnom Penh Crown, having already played twice. Instead Phnom Penh Crown will be admitted to the play-off stages that begin February 2017.
Phnom Penh Crown had their invitation to join the Qualifying Round of the 2017 AFC Cup withdrawn by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) following a match-fixing scandal that saw four of its officials punished with suspensions earlier this year by the disciplinary committee of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC).
The AFC, which has significantly hardened its zero tolerance policy on match-fixing, invoked its statutes that stipulate refusal of entry into any AFC competition to any club that is found guilty of match fixing. The suspension is for one year.
However, the Cambodian club, who had reported the incident to their federation themselves, lodged an appeal with CAS, saying: “We have done everything we possibly can to support the fight against corruption, cheating and match-manipulation.”
A club statement said: “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.”
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