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Sep 21, 2012

FIFA removes Azkals vs Cambodia match from official fixtures

After the Philippines’ match with Laos was removed from the FIFA official list of fixtures after the latter used an unsanctioned referee, the Azkals’ match with Cambodia has now also been removed from FIFA’s website as well.

The move reportedly came after Cambodia made seven substitutions in the match, while the maximum number of substitutions allowed in a game was affixed to six in 2004. After reviewing the incident, FIFA has taken the step of cancelling the game from the official fixtures.

Game officials did not keep track of the number of substitutions the Cambodian side made. As the game is no longer considered a FIFA International Friendly match, it means that both countries will lose the few ranking points they picked up for the draw.

While this won’t change the position of the Azkals so much compared to other countries, it does raise questions of professionalism with both Laos and Cambodia now causing FIFA to step in and degrade the game from a FIFA international match to a simple exhibition game.

FIFA ranks countries based on their performance in the last four years, taking all their points from the current year, 50% of the last year’s, 30% of the points won during the year before, and 20% of the year before that. The Philippines currently has 167 points behind Leichenstein, Syria, and Vietnam, with only one point separating the Azkals from Leichenstein, three from Syria, and sixteen behind Vietnam.

Fortunately for the Azkals, the 2-1 victory against Singapore still counts in the FIFA Rankings. Currently, FIFA Rankings work in a way that a win could add 11 points to the Azkals’ score to take them to 178 points.

At the moment, that would see them rise to 147th in the world, higher than they’ve been before, as the Azkals’ highest ever position is 148th, achieved from April to May earlier this year. However, the Azkals need a good showing in the Philippine Football Peace Cup to maintain that score and gain further ground on their neighbors on and off the pitch. - RAF, GMA News

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