Controversy Over 2023 SEA Games Football Draw

SEA Games Football

Controversy has arisen over both the manner of the draw for the 2023 SEA Games football tournament to be held in Cambodia, as well as the rules related to who can take part of the competition.

To read about the SEA Games football draw click here.

What is tech controversy about the draw?

Indonesia have complained that they only found out about the draw two days before it happened and there have been claims that Cambodia has been afforded the “easier” group.

The Cambodian team have managed to avoid regional powerhouses Vietnam and Thailand, with only Indonesia being of serious threat in the group. This theoretically at least should result in an easier route to the semi-finals and indeed a medal for the country.

From a local and indeed a global perspective though host nations in major competitions such as the FIFA World Cup rightly, or wrongly have traditionally received “easier” draws.

The Under 22 Rule and the 2023 Games Football Competition

The other rule brought in by the Cambodians that has drawn the ire of some nations is  that tournament will be open to players under 22, rather than under 23, which has led to Vietnam for example.

The rules do not allow players over 22 years old, meaning only those born from January 1, 2001 onward are able to participate in the event. The rules though do allow for 2 players over the age of 22 to take part, much like how football at the Olympic Games work.

According to this will mean a large swath of the defending champions players being unable to take part, with only as few Cambodian players being affected.

The 2023 SEA Games are due to start on May 6th and run through to the 17th, although the football tournament is scheduled to start earlier.

This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.


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