Puzzling AFF decision

By: Jack Biantan - Big Jack

Mon. Feb. 29, 2016

I AM puzzled, bewildered, naglibog, kutaw utok, why the Asean Football Federation (AFF), the organizer of the Suzuki Cup, has rejected the bid of the Philippines for hosting the Group stages of the tournament this year end.

Their reason is that the 15-thousand seater Rizal Memorial stadium in Manila is not good enough.

I received a letter from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) General Scretary and lawyer Edwin Gastanes last Feb. 24 announcing.

‘’After inspection by its rights holder Lagardere Sports (formerly World Sports Group), the Asean Football Federation (AFF) has disapproved the 15-thousand seat Rizal Memorial Football Stadium as primary venue of the Group Stage matches to be hosted by the Philippines.  The 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup competition regulations require among others a minimum 30-thousand seat capacity for primary venues of  group stage matches.’’

The letter also added that while the 20-thousand seat privately-owned Philippine Sports Stadium has also been nominated, AFF however requires submission of a written stadium hire contract.  Deadline of 31 January 2016 and further deadline of 9 February 2016 have lapsed without PFF receiving a signed contract from PSS.


‘’With no qualified stadia at the moment, PFF is compelled to bring the matter to AFF and will  take up the stadia qualification during the AFF Council meeting on 12 March 2016 at Danang, Vietnam.’’

Now here comes the puzzlement. The following day, Feb. 25, the PFF released another letter announcing the availability of tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian qualifiers/AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifier second round match between the Azkals and North Korea on March 29 also at the same venue.

Rizal Memorial is not good enough for the Suzuki Cup but good enough for a World Cup qualifying match? 

Sun*Star Cebu sports editor Mike Limpag came out with this interesting story recently (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/sports/2016/02/25/limpag-inc-abs-conflict-foils-phls-suzuki-cup-hosting-459312) 

If this is true, then we have somebody to blame on depriving us of watching the Azkals capturing the Suzuki Cup in our shores. And please don’t blame PNoy on this. (l.biantan@gmail.com)

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