MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has put on hold the Fifa-funded construction of an artificial turf and expansion of the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium pending clearance from the Department of Justice.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia, whose agency manages the historic venue, said the contract the Philippine Football Federation and Fifa are laying out for the project is good for a relatively long term of 25 years so they have to seek the legal opinion from the DOJ first.
"We at the PSC have no objection to converting the grass into an artificial turf because it will be good for Phl football. But first, we want to make sure that signing a contract binding for 25 years is within the law. Are we allowed by law to sign a 25-year-commitment? Because if we sign it now, we are going over our own terms," explained Garcia.
"If the DOJ will issue a clearance, then we'll sign the contract and we can start with the project," he assured.
The Rizal stadium has been chosen for the Fifa Goal 3 project by the international body and the PFF with construction initially scheduled to begin by June or July.
As it is, the project will have to wait until the DOJ okay, leaving totally Rizal out of the picture insofar as the PFF's planned hosting of the Long Teng Cup in October . PFF president Nonong Araneta has earlier announced the choice of Panaad in Bacolod City for the Oct. 3-7 bootfest among Phl, Hong Kong, Chinese-Taipei and Macau, pending concurrence of the three other participating nations.
"Construction(at Rizal) will be on hold first. Hopefully, we can start it during the year. In the meantime, we'll maintain this (grass) football field," said Garcia.
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