Boeung Ket football club has terminated midfielder Math Yamin’s contract after his arrest over the weekend in Phnom Penh.
According to local media reports, Yamin was among dozens of men and women who were rounded up during a police dragnet targeting illegal drug users in the capital.
The reports said police raided the Fly Club in the Chroy Changvar area of Phnom Penh just after midnight on Feb 9 and arrested 52 people, including Yamin. The raid also led to the seizure of a substantial quantity of illegal drugs, believed to include methamphetamine.
Published images show Yamin and several other young people surrounded by police inside the establishment. He was then taken away by the police for investigation and questioning.
Boeung Ket FC immediately terminated Yamin’s contract after learning of the incident.
Last year, Yamin signed a contract extension with Boeung Ket FC that would see him play for the club until the end of 2020. Yamin signed the extension together with left-back Sath Rosib.
In a press release published on the club’s website at that time, Puth Thyda, chairwoman of Boeung Ket FC, said they were ready to help the two footballers succeed.
“We are happy to see that they are satisfied with what we give them. They are very committed, so we have to help them succeed in the way they have sacrificed and tried for our team,” Thyda said.
Yamin first joined Boeung Ket FC in 2016 after a stint with the now-defunct Build Bright United in the top-flight Cambodian League.
Yamin has been a vital cog for Boeung Ket FC, which won the Hun Sen Cup last year. During the team’s championship game against Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC, Yamin was one of the players who scored during the penalty shootout that decided the match.
Yusuke Shinoda, general manager of Angkor Tiger FC, which also plays in the Cambodian League, said Yamin’s actions will not only affect the player’s reputation, but also the reputation of Cambodian football as a whole.
“We should never allow illegal drugs in the country’s professional football leagues. This is very disappointing news for all of us,” he said.
In light of the incident, Shinoda said doping tests, such as urinalysis, should be considered by the relevant authorities, football leagues and organisations.
“I hope every club, the players and all of us learn from this incident, so it will never happen again,” he said.
This is not the first time that a football player has been arrested in Cambodia on drug charges.
In November last year, the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Narcotics Police Force arrested Nigerian footballer Ndukwu Jonathan Chukwujekwu after he and two accomplices allegedly attempted to transport banned substances to Vietnam.
Prior to that, another Nigerian footballer, Olisanwandu Echezona Samuel, was arrested after he allegedly attempted to sell drugs to an undercover police officer. He was later convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment.