Post by teddyandtimmysdad on Dec 1, 2011 0:51:01 GMT 8
very glad to heAR araneta's election was virtually unanimous (I assumed his own FA abstained, not disssented). hopefully this means everyone will now get down to the hard work ahead with much needed cohesion and collaboration.
an interview on the state and challenges that face philippine football November 28, 2011 criticaleye2
This interview will appear in the souvenir issue of Football Philippines magazine which will be distributed at the Philippines vs. LA Galaxy match. Much thanks to Angelico Mercader and Football Philippines for allowing me to post this on my blog.
Football Philippines (FP): How do you see the LA Galaxy match affecting football in the country, the performance of our national team, and the support of Filipinos for the sport? Do you see more international friendlies such as this in the coming years?
Bonnie Ladrido (BL): The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is obviously enthused at having the Los Angeles Galaxy play against our Menâ€™s National Team (â€œthe Azkalsâ€) in Manila. We could not have foreseen at the start of this year the prospect of this match capping off a year which has seen a tremendous leap not just in the progress of our team but more so the meteoric rise in the popularity of the game in our country. It will have a tremendous impact in terms of the collective consciousness of Filipino sports fans.
The Azkals look forward to playing this match against the recently crowned Major League Soccer champions. When the negotiations to bring the Galaxy over became public, we had several of our players lobbying to make this happen. This will obviously be a great experience for them as well. While the game itself will have no bearing on our FIFA ranking, our players will be in this not just to play but to win the match.
It is our fervent hope that this match against the Galaxy will continue to firm up the foundations that have been laid this year and generate even more support and more important, participation in the game in the Philippines. This will be a necessary step towards attracting a wider base of players from which we could select fresh talent for our various national teams. The PFF is already in the process of cementing a grassroots program which will be launched next year with the aim of qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. This program will provide the infrastructure which will allow us to capture much of the increased interest as a result of this match as well as the popularity of the Azkals.
It is no secret that for us to improve, our teams will have to play more matches. So yes, the PFF will take advantage of the scheduling windows in the FIFA calendar to organize more international friendlies on home soil. For 2012, we are eyeing at least 2 and maybe 3 international friendlies in the Philippines. With the proper infrastructure in place, the PFF also hopes, at some point, to host matches in other areas of the country.
FP: What are some of the significant highlights of the year that you would consider milestones for Philippine Football and why?
BL: This was a historical year for Philippine football. Some of the more memorable moments included:
The victory over Mongolia at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod; The advancement of the Azkals to the final stage of the Challenge Cup which will be held in Nepal in March of next year; The holding of national level tournaments including the Smart Club Championships, the Suzuki Cup Under-23 Championships and the Under-19 National Championships; The victory over Sri Lanka in the first round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifiers (the first time we had advanced to the second round ever); Our hosting of 2 World Cup qualifying matches for the first time in over 10 years; The renovation of the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium for which the PFF and its corporate partners invested over P9 million; The signing of a multi-million peso broadcast contract by the United Football League with TV5/AKTV bringing live coverage of league matches for millions of Filipinos; The approval by FIFA under its Goal Project program of two (University of Life and Valencia, Bukidnon) projects providing $1 million for new facilities; The signing of corporate partnership programs with Smart Communications, Air21 and the MVP Sports Foundation providing over P100 million in financial support over the next 10 years; The arrival of Eckhardt Krautzen, a recognized expert in grassroots development, to assess the state of the game in our country and provide direction towards a credible and sustainable grassroots development program for the Philippines; The LA Galaxy match; and, The election of Mariano Araneta, Jr. to a 4-year term as PFF President.
More than the individual significance of each milestone, the contribution of each to the totality of what has happened is what is more significant. All these as well as other less luminous events point to a dynamism which football has not had in the Philippines. These serve to provide a momentum that with the proper direction and support can only lead to even greater heights for the beautiful game in our country.
We must also remember the setbacks that we encountered during the year. While I do not wish to dwell on these, it is important to learn lessons from these shortcomings to complement the lessons learned from the things that went right. There will always be challenges and we remain a distance from where we would like to be. The PFF remains grounded and aware that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. It is this humility with which we admit to our mistakes and accept constructive criticism which will make us work even harder.
FP: How do you see the coming year for Philippine Football? What concrete steps is PFF taking to further develop the sport?
BL: The key to strengthening and building on what we achieved this year will be the launch of our grassroots program. We have to be able to take advantage of the fact that we are a nation that is 90 million strong. While the assessment of Mr. Krautzen pointed to the lack of facilities and equipment as well as the need for a more determined coaching development program, he also highlighted the natural talent of the Filipino in terms of our inherent agility and speed. The PFF will begin to institutionalize the framework for this grassroots program for us to have a greater chance of harnessing the innate talent of the Filipino and hopefully find the next Chieffy Caligdong, Ian Araneta or Ali Borromeo.
FP: What do you think are some of the important challenges that PFF must be able to address?
BL: The lack of facilities and equipment is the most obvious and tangible candidate among the challenges that the Federation faces. FIFA development representatives were in Manila last week and presented to the PFF a wide range of options which the PFF could tap to address this particular challenge. The PFF, however, remains cognizant of the fact that we have to help ourselves to spur facility development and the provision of equipment at a faster pace. This is where the PFFâ€™s corporate sponsorship programs come in. Thus, it is critical that the PFF continue to guard its integrity and maintain the hard-won trust of its corporate partners by being transparent and professional in its actions. The PFF also needs to be able to widen its revenue base by building its nascent merchandising efforts. All these plans will not come cheap but we remain committed to investing in the game and will do what can be done to speed the process along while hopefully avoiding crass commercialism.
FP: How would you describe the positive financial support that PFF and football in general is getting from sponsors, and how would you attribute this to both the popularity of the sport and the confidence in PFFâ€™s management/leadership?
BL: The PFF is grateful and a little overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that the game has received in this past year. The PFF was able to raise about P26 million, about one-fourth of its budget, from corporate partners. We admit that in terms of the growth of the sport, this has mostly been driven by the popularity of the Azkals. The Federationâ€™s role has mostly been to provide the resources to put our teams in a position where they can be successful.
We also know enough not to take all of these for granted. We also know that there remain a lot of things that need to be done. The continued professionalization of the PFFâ€™s organization remains a key initiative. The rationalization of the Federationâ€™s internal processes will continue. The mindset of being transparent remains in place.
At the end of the day, we hope people understand and glean from our actions that the current leadership of the PFF does what it does to protect the integrity of the game, promote the game for all and work to make things better. We do what we do not for anything else other than our own love for the beautiful game. We do not ask for recognition or reward. We remain our own worst critics and the opportunity to serve the game and the Filipino nation is more than enough reward for most of us.
Interestingly, Bonnie included Coach Krautzun's arrival as one of the memorable moments in Philippine football and rightfully enough, completely ignored Coach Weiss. This means that there are officials within the PFF who are aware of whose contributions were positive and those who were found wanting.
The one thing I found most significant in his comments is the PFF's commitment to transparency and integrity starting with the treasurer himself, Bonnie Ladrido. It is not mentioned in this article, but I believe that they have also hired or planning to hire an external auditor to make sure that all transactions are above board and to convince their current and potential sponsors that any contributions that they make will go towards their intended goal and not to somebody's pocket as has been in the case in the past locally as well as in other FIFA organizations.
With committed members and volunteers like these, who are willing to listen to constructive criticism, I think we have the right officials to lead Philippine football for the next four years. Well done. Now if they can only add an official website to update us on developments, it will help them look more professional and give them a venue to inform fans of their plans and programs.
Unfortunately, Bonnie Ladrido has also indicated in an article on his website that he is stepping down from his position as treasurer at the PFF:
"My term as the Treasurer of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) officially ended today. The past twelve months seem to have gone quite fast. It has been a year that has been equally exhilirating at times and frustrating at times. I tried to walk away a couple of times but the pull of the love for the game always brought me back. As I walk away from the Federation this one last time, I have allowed myself to think that a lot of good has been done. The PFF is in the best financial condition in its history with the ability to sustain established and new development programs. There remains a lot work to be done but there will be other equally qualified, if not, better people who will push the beautiful game forward. There are a lot of stories that can be told about this year and this is mine."
Here is his story on how he got the position and his stay in office:
December 7, 2010. My football story begins on the 69th anniversary of that day which will live in infamy.
Key executives of companies associated with Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) were gathered at the MERALCO boardroom for my presentation on a new company that their companies were going to be co-owners of. While waiting for MVP and several others to arrive, idle chit-chat turned into a semi-serious discussion about the Azkals and Philippine Football.
The discussion was brought about by a question from one of the executives about what the term “Azkals” meant. This discussion eventually evolved into several of these high-powered corporate CEOs saying that this should be a sport which we (the MVP group) should be supporting.
The discussion continued when MVP came arrived for the meeting. Eventually as the repartee started to die down, I cut it short so I could do my presentation which was why these gentlemen who control over P1 trillion in assets were gathered in the first place.
I had to leave for the United States the day after the meeting to spend time with my family over the Christmas holidays. I didn’t really think much about the conversation over football that happened in that meeting. That is until one day I read in one of the online newspapers that MVP was putting in P1 million to support the Philippine Football Federation (PFF). In statements announcing the financial support, MVP also encouraged other companies to pledge assistance for Philippine football.
The pledge from MVP was eventually increased to P80 million which was to be spread over 10 years. In addition, Air 21 Express also pledged P21 million also to spread out over 10 years.
Upon coming back to the Philippines after holidays, I immediately asked my bosses at PLDT whether I could somehow volunteer my services to this initiative. This request to volunteer was driven by nothing more than the desire to help.
I am from Iloilo where football is what basketball is to most of the rest of the country. I started playing at the age of 5 when I was in kindergarten. All we really did was chase and kick a ball around a field. It eventually gravitated into a more structured manner brought about by the sport being a staple among our PE classes.
I played varsity high school football for three years. During those years, I played against some of the best teams that the country produced – Central Philippine University (CPU), Barotac Nuevo National Comprehensive High School, St. Paul’s School of Barotac Nuevo and Santa Barbara National Comprehensive High School. The CPU team that we played in the Coke Go for Goal Tournament in 1989 went on to claim the National Championship.
I continued to play during my college years primarily in an intra-university tournament called the Latagaw Cup in UP – Diliman. Eventually as I entered professional life, my involvement with football tapered off. I would continue to play the odd tournament here and there. In 1999, I was one of two Filipinos selected to play in the Asian selection to the Paribas Global Championship held in Zurich, Switzerland.
I left for the United States to go to business school in 2000. I didn’t get to play much during my 10 years in the US other than the odd pick-up game here and there. Appearances to the contrary, football or soccer as they call it, is big in the US. This is particularly true at the youth level primarily through the American Youth Soccer Organization or AYSO. AYSO programs reach across every nook and cranny of the United States producing players that eventually play for US National Teams.
I eventually came back to the Philippines in September, 2009. I didn’t really pay much attention to the goings-on in Philippine football except to watch and eventually play games for my current club – the Manila Football Club (MFC). Having been away for so long, I wasn’t really aware nor really felt the need to keep track of what was happening with the game in the Philippines.
I did know about the Younghusband brothers after the hope that they brought to the sport in the country with their participation in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. As many of us know, their relative success didn’t really sustain itself given the problems that even now continue to cast a dark cloud over the development of the game in the country.
Then the Azkals burst into the scene in a big way with their success in the Suzuki Cup and the Challenge Cup. Like most in the country, I was again drawn to pay more attention to Philippine football with the publicity generated by our national team.
To cut a long story short, my bosses at PLDT allowed me to approach the PFF to volunteer in my personal capacity. This was premised on spending one day of my work week with the PFF and more important – not taking any monetary benefit from the Federation. Volunteer work lang talaga.
Newly-appointed PFF President Mariano V. Araneta, Jr. or Nonong just happened to be a former student of my mom’s at the UP Visayas High School. My mom is like a phone directory of UP Visayas alumni. If she didn’t have anyone’s phone number with her she could always certainly get it in no time. In short, I got Nonong’s number from my mom.
Nonong and I finally met over lunch in early February of this year. At that time, I really had no position in mind. All I wanted to do was find out how I could help. It just so happened that the PFF was needing a Treaurer. The previous one was booted out of the Federation after alleged improprieties governing the financial transactions of the PFF were discovered. Nonong asked me if I was interested. Having worked in financial services for close to 20 years, this was right along my alley. I signified my interest pending a further appreciation on my part of the issues facing the PFF. I did not want to take the position blind – so to speak. Moreover, I also wanted to first make paalam from MVP to make sure there would be no prospective conflicts of interest.
As the appointment to the position of PFF Treasurer is made by the PFF’s Board of Governors (BOG), it took a while for my joining the PFF to happen as the next BOG meeting was scheduled at the end of April. Nonong essentially had to ask individual members of the BOG for authority to make an interim appointment in my case until this could be formalized at the BOG meeting. I also surmised that with Nonong’s own appointment as PFF President continuing to be challenged by the ousted president, he did not want to act unilaterally.
In the meantime, I had started to ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the departure of the previous president and treasurer. Upon the advice of well-meaning friends, it was imperative that I at least know what I was getting into. This was a little difficult at first because there were so many stories floating around. The people at the PFF were also thick into the preparations for the first leg of the Challenge Cup match at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod against Mongolia.
Eventually I gathered that the alleged financial shenanigans involved the siphoning off of about P3.1 million from the PFF coffers. This only includes the amount which could be documented to form the basis of a legal case meaning that the total amount involved could actually have been more. The money was transferred to the personal account of the PFF Treasurer for what was termed as “safekeeping”. When the PFF started missing the payment of bills, the BOG through its Finance Committee launched an investigation which uncovered the transfer of funds. When asked to explain, the president and the treasurer only made vague references to the amount being in investments. The two were asked to return the money to the PFF and when they were unable to do so, the BOG voted to remove them from office. A civil case is currently pending in court against the previous treasurer. The BOG opted to defer the filing of a case against the previous president for humanitarian reasons after learning of his serious health problems. (Note: I am only able to write about this as the filing of a court case makes this information publicly available. The respondents are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law).
I eventually began work at the PFF in the first week of March. I also got to meet the new Finance Committee Chairman Jun Pacificador of the Laguna FA who was instrumental in many of the initiatives that we were able to implement. The first task was to assess the true financial state of the Federation and what I found was initially bleak. Bills from the hosting of the match against Mongolia were coming due and funds were forthcoming but as of yet, unavailable. We had to scramble a bit by rescheduling some of these bills and we were eventually able to secure assistance from the Presidential Management Staff to tide us over. This was the only direct financial support that the PFF received from the government and while significant at that time given our precarious financial state, it eventually ended up accounting for less than 2% of what the PFF spent for the year.
The second task was to assess the procedural protocols of the Federation in the release of funds. The objective was two-fold. The first was to find out where the deficiencies were and how these led to the problems of the previous administration and secondly, to set up policies and procedures to ensure that the chances of this happening again would be minimized.
Two important things happened or were happening around this time. The first was the signing of the partnership agreement with Smart Communications which facilitated the release of P8 million which was budgeted for the Smart Club Championships, support for the national team and grassroots programs. This helped significantly alleviate our funding issues which at this time was focused on supporting the Men’s National Team. The Azkals were in Japan preparing for the second leg of their Challenge Cup match against Mongolia this time in UlaanBataar. This was the other important thing.
Fresh from their thrashing of Mongolia during the match in Bacolod, the team was in high spirits heading into the second leg. Nonong had invited me to accompany him (at my expense, of course) to Mongolia. The day before our departure, Japan suffered the disastrous earthquake and the tsunami that it unleashed. One of the hardest hit cities was Fukushima. Our team was supposed to have trained in the Fukushima facility of the Japanese Football Association (JFA). Through some twist of fate, our team ended up instead in Gotemba as the Fukushima Training Center was unavailable.
Our team, though shaken, was okay. We did have a couple of players who got stuck on their planes (Simon Greatwich and I forget the other one) which landed as or soon after the earthquake hit. Through the remarkable effort of the JFA, our team was eventually able to leave for Mongolia two days before the match. I related some of the experiences with the earthquake as well as Ray Jonsson’s 30-hour odyssey to Mongolia in a previous post – the philippine azkals and their continuing search for home. Our group which included Nonong, Dan Palami and some of our players’ parents was finally able to leave for Mongolia on the day before the match.
Mongolia was cold. After a long flight from Manila via Incheon, we arrived in UlaanBataar – the capital of Mongolia close to midnight. It was probably 20 degrees below zero. Our exit from the terminal was also delayed by Mongolian officials initially denying entry to Ray Jonsson as I relate in a previous post. Upon our arrival at our hotel, we were met by Philippine camera crews with their bright lights who had arrived earlier and were seeking interviews with Nonong, Dan and Ray.
The game was set at midday purportedly to take advantage of “warmer” conditions. As most things in the world are, everything is relative. “Warmer” in the Mongolian winter meant 5 degrees below zero. I woke up early and joined the team for breakfast. At the team meeting after breakfast, I was first introduced to the team. The meeting was largely handled by Coach Michael Weiss with the assistance of Chieffy Caligdong who did the overview of the offense and goalkeeper Eduard Sacapano who did the defense. After a light lunch, we were off to the stadium.
The stadium wasn’t particularly large – maybe 10,000 capacity. I sat in the stands with about 50 other loud and raucous Filipinos. That was apparently half the number of Filipinos in UlaanBataar. These OFWs toil in the frozen tundra of Mongolia as accountants for the mining companies, as entertainers and in other service industries. After the game, some players even walked into a restaurant with a Filipino band playing.
Our team got off to an awesome start when James Younghusband scored in the 4th minute. It was downhill from there, however, as the biting cold took the measure of our players. A couple of defensive lapses led to a penalty and another goal. We lost 2-1 but it could have been worse had it not been for the otherwise stellar play of Eduard in goal in place of the unavailable Neil Etheridge.
While the result allowed our team to advance to the next round of the competition due to having scored more goals (we won 2-0 in Bacolod) in the two-leg match, the mood in the team bus on the way back to the hotel was depressingly quiet. Despite the conditions and the challenges of getting to UlaanBataar in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, the team felt it should have won this game.
We arrived in Manila two days later at around 1 am. This was after another eventful trip back which almost had Ray missing our connecting flight in Beijing.
Waiting in Manila were KPMG auditors who had come to inspect the PFF’s books in the wake of the previously mentioned financial improprieties. FIFA provides the PFF and all other national football associations with $250,000 annually under its Financial Assistance Program (FAP). The use of FAP funds is strictly regulated. It can only be used for certain items. This was what the auditors were checking up on. Their report to FIFA would determine whether the PFF was going to receive its FAP allotment for 2011.
The problem was that the PFF could not really challenge the findings of the auditors which did point to the irregularities. The facts are the facts – so to speak. The PFF BOG had used these same irregularities as the basis for the removal of the previous president and the previous treasurer. I eventually answered their request for comment by saying that while we agreed with the findings, the new PFF administration should not be held liable for acts committed over which it had no control over. We included in the letter the actions taken by the PFF which included the removal of the officials responsible and the codification of policies and procedures meant to address the structural deficiencies which led to the misappropriation of the funds.
FIFA eventually agreed to release the FAP funds after finding merit in our position.
The Blue-Haired Fanatic at NSG Our team went to the next stage of the Challenge Cup in Myanmar. This successful campaign included one win and two draws. The result allowed us to move to the final round of the Challenge Cup to be held in Nepal in March of next year. It was also around this time that the Kaholeros were born.
The Challenge Cup games in Myanmar were only shown on a delayed basis due to restrictions imposed by the host country. My brother invited me to watch the replay of the final game against Bangladesh at the National Sports Grill (NSG) in Greenbelt. He, in turn, had been invited by Ebong Joson aka “the Blue-Haired Fanatic”. Ebong and my brother had watched the game in Bacolod together. It was in Bacolod where Ebong in his blue-wigged regalia ran across the Panaad pitch (a big NO NO) and was briefly detained by the police in their own full-battle gear. After his brief detention, Ebong went on the crash the victory party of the team later that night.
I had always harbored the idea that our team should have a dedicated booster squad. My model was Sam’s Army – the booster squad of the US Men’s National Soccer Team. Members of Sam’s Army travel the world in their distinctive colors to watch and cheer for the American team. My first thought was to maybe just have a school-based booster squad (e.g. the Blue Babble Battalion) play this role at least for our home matches.
Seeing Ebong at NSG that night, however – something just clicked. Who better to lead and form the Azkals booster squad than someone who actually got arrested in the exercise of his fanaticism. While his alleged inebriated state at that time may have slightly impaired his mental faculties – still . Whatever the case may be, I ended up asking Ebong whether he wanted to do this. Ebong’s reaction was like a fish taking to water, a bird learning to fly, etcetera, etcetera – in other words, it was a natural. The rest, as they say, is history. The Kaholeros have grown to become a force of 500 at our home matches with chapters all over the country and even in Singapore. Great job Mr. Fanatic!
Finally, at the end of March, the draw for the Asian Preliminaries for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was held. We had drawn Sri Lanka as our opponent in the first round. We were going to host a World Cup Qualification match – the first one in over 10 years. The question was – where?
part THREE of my football story: stepping back from the abyss of azkal mania December 4, 2011 criticaleye2 Leave a comment Go to comments
created by Ryan Azarcon - LOC (PHL vs SRI) Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations
April – May, 2011: The Road to WCQ
The first round draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Asian Qualifiers (WCQ) was held in Kuala Lumpur on March 30th of this year. The Philippines had drawn Sri Lanka in the first round. This was going to be the first time that the Philippines had entered the FIFA World Cup Qualification process in over 10 years. Our last experience was the attempt to qualify for the 2002 World Cup which was jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan. That campaign was a disaster.
The format was different then. The Philippines played in a double round robin elimination group. Our team was in a group which included Oman, Syria and Laos. Our team ended up losing 5 of 6 games with the other game ending in a draw. We scored a total of 2 goals while conceding 29. This included a 12-0 beating that our team absorbed courtesy of Syria. For some reason, the Philippines had to play both of their matches against Syria in Syria and both of their matches against Oman in Oman. The only home match that was played was the one against Laos which ended in a 1-1 draw.
After drawing Sri Lanka, we were fairly confident that we were going to do well. I wrote about this in this post – philippine football, the azkals & understanding how far we have come & how far we still have to go. The first leg held in Colombo did not go as we had expected. Playing under poor pitch conditions, our team could only manage a draw.
But back to our own preparations – three candidates were discussed for hosting. This included Laguna, Panaad Stadium in Bacolod and Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila. The choice of Rizal was premised on this – from the time the Azkals burst into the scene with their upset of Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup on December 5th, 2010 they had not yet played in the country’s capital. The thinking was that the team had to be exposed on a bigger stage. Panaad in Bacolod had already hosted the Azkals in their match against Mongolia in the Challenge Cup preliminaries. A FIFA rule requiring that a playing venue be within a 1-hour drive of an international-level airport made Laguna’s bid less compelling.
I was really at the periphery of the decision-making process in these early days. I was focusing on an assessment of the financial controls and procedures of the PFF for most of April. While the assessment itself was done quickly, I had to prepare my recommendations and formalize this in a manual containing financial control principles to be adopted by the PFF as well as the practical procedural flow that would lead to the application of these principles. All these I presented to the PFF Board of Governors (BOG) in its meeting in Davao on April 30, 2011. The BOG approved these policies and procedures.
What received more scrutiny were my own formal appointment as PFF Treasurer and a Finance Committee request for approval for cash management authority to be given to the Treasurer with the concurrence of the Finance Committee chairman. For the most part, the scrutiny was borne of the BOG’s experience with the previous Treasurer. To a large degree, the recommendation for my appointment was given an immeasurable boost when Dan Palami made an unexpected (but heartfelt) speech sponsoring the recommendation. Dan and I barely knew each other at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised by this gesture. What also turned the tide (I think anyway) was when members of the BOG were made aware that I had insisted (well MVP insisted :-) ) that I not receive compensation while serving as PFF Treasurer.
The other contentious point was our request to be given authority to utilize specified and limited financial instruments (time deposits, special depository accounts, special savings accounts and money market accounts) to manage the excess cash of the PFF. We had also specified that these transactions would only be conducted with the PFF’s existing depositary banks. In the private sector, these are part and parcel of what are known as Treasury operations. The end is to use these higher-yielding instruments to park idle PFF funds to get marginally higher returns than would be possible by having these sit in checking accounts and/or savings accounts. We had purposely presented the specifics of these transactions including the instruments, the procedures, the control mechanisms and the approving authorities in view of the recent experiences of the PFF with financial improprieties. Despite this (and credit goes to the PFF BOG), we were extensively grilled by the Governors. Again, Dan Palami came out in support of the proposal by validating my position that these transactions were part of normal and sound business practices. Ironically, we were never able to utilize these instruments during the course of the year as our resource generation operations, for the most part, mirrored our budgetary needs.
Preparations as well as the conduct of the Suzuki Cup Under-23 National Championships, the Under-19 Championships and the Smart Club Championships also taxed the lean PFF manpower to an extent that preparations for the WCQ home leg started later than what would have been ideal. These national level tournaments were the first ones that the PFF had undertaken after coming out of the “dark days” of the sport in the country. The logistical requirements are massive and having all three going on at the same time is an experience that the PFF does not intend to replicate. Going forward, these tournaments will be spread out over the course of the year. Our experiences with these from an organizational perspective was one of the objects of this article - beyond the azkals: the way forward for pilipinas futbol (the view behind the scenes).
We eventually got down to the business of preparing for the WCQ on Friday the 13th in May of this year. Nonong had asked me to attend a meeting at the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) offices at Rizal. My presence was required to assess the financial dimensions of hosting this match against Sri Lanka. Present at the meeting were Nonong, Dan Palami, PSC Commissioner Chito Loyzaga and AFC/FIFA Match Commissioner Cathy Rivilla.
Commissioner Loyzaga is the commissioner in charge of all the facilities owned and operated by the PSC. Cathy had been an AFC Match Commissioner of the year and her experience was going to be invaluable in the preparations and conduct of the match.
We immediately buckled down to work and focused on the need to refurbish Rizal. The most tedious and time-consuming task was going to be the removal and replacement of the existing wooden benches that served as grandstand seating at the Stadium. Many of these were already disintegrating and would have posed a safety risk if not replaced. These were to be replaced by fiberglass seats. The supplier originally proposed providing a fixed number of seats. I argued that the PFF would only pay for seats actually installed. While PSC personnel had pulled out the dimensions of the grandstand and calculated the number of seats, my concern was that until we had actually started the process of installing the seats and experienced the proposed seat spacing we were not going to know how many seats were actually going to be installed. These seats were not cheap – P700 each for those without seat backs and P1,200 for those with seat backs. An inch here or an inch there in terms of the seat spacing could mean several hundred thousand pesos. I did not want the PFF locked into buying a fixed number of seats only to find out that we did not need all of them. To the supplier’s credit, they quickly saw the logic of this and agreed to the flexible contract. We shook on this pending the drafting of the formal contract.
The next step was the choice of who was going to head the PFF’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC). The PFF follows protocols which include the establishment of an LOC for all tournaments whether international or domestic. Typically, the LOC is headed by a General Coordinator (GC). Given the magnitude of this event, however, it was decided that there needed to be a Chairman to head the LOC.
Organizationally, the LOC Chairman functions like a Chief Executive Officer or CEO in the private sector. The GC, on the other hand, functions like a Chief Operating Officer or COO. The LOC is, in turn, composed of various sub-committees which are functional in nature with specific responsibilities relating to a tournament or match.
The appointment of the LOC Chairman (or GC, in cases where there is no Chairman) is the sole prerogative of the PFF President in the exercise of his administrative duties. He may consult with whomever he believes will have relative inputs to the choice. For this WCQ, the decision was made after the PSC meeting.
As Nonong, Dan and I were discussing possibilities, we realized that this was not going to be an easy decision. Experience counts a lot but in the new PFF, consideration is also given to having a private sector corporate background. Given that our last WCQ match hosting was in 2001, we did not really have recent experience.
After 30 minutes of back and forth, Dan asked me if I would consider it. Because I had not considered myself a candidate, I had not thought this possibility through. Caught by surprise, I hemmed and I hawed. Given the proper resources, I felt confident that this task could be done but by someone else. I knew I was going to be part of this but as a fund raiser and as a fiscalizer in the use of financial resources. Rather than having this conversation continue aimlessly, I asked Nonong and Dan for time to sleep over this before giving them an answer.
My main worry was my ability to be able to commit the time which I knew was going to be needed to see this through. I knew then that if I accepted the appointment, this was going to take over my life for the next month and a half and maybe longer. On the other hand, while I thought that there were other people who were perfectly capable of doing this it would take time to find them and bring many of them up to speed and decisions had to be made yesterday. Then again, if someone else did this and it didn’t turn out well – I would have never lived it down.
One good thing about Manila traffic is that if you choose to do so, it offers the perfect environment to think. There is not much you can do when you are moving at 5-10 kilometers per hour in Friday night rush hour. On this night (a payday night as well), it took me 90 minutes to get from Rizal to Legaspi Village in Makati. Before I got home, I had made up my mind and called Nonong and then Dan to accept.
The Philippine Football Federation is looking to strike a television deal worth at least P80 million for the rights to air matches of the Philippine Azkals next year.
A reliable source yesterday said that television networks ABS-CBN and TV5 have submitted bids to the PFF for the exclusive rights to the Azkals games in 2012.
The source said the PFF’s target amount of P80 million already includes non-monetary benefits like airtime, promotions and mileage with the actual money going to the federation amounting to just about P15 to P20 million.
“The PFF is looking at P80 million, but 80 percent of the amount is non-monetary,” said the source.
ABS-CBN is actually hoping to extend its partnership with the Azkals that started with the AFC Challenge Cup game against Mongolia in February last year.
The same source revealed that the PFF earned at least P8 million from the ABS-CBN deal that was also spent for expenses incurred during the Azkals’ campaigns.
The PFF Board will decide on the television deal on Jan. 13.
The Azkals actually have a busy schedule for 2012 with two major tournaments lined up starting with the AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu, Nepal, in March.
Before the Challenge Cup, where the Azkals have been grouped with North Korea, Tajikistan and India, the national team will also face reigning Southeast Asian champion Malaysia in a Fifa-sanctioned friendly on Feb. 29 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The PFF will also use the international friendly dates in June to hold four matches for the team.
Friendly matches in the months of August, September and October are also slated for the Azkals as they toughen up for the Suzuki Cup in December.
For the sake of balance, I would like to have ABS CBN broadcast the Azkals games while TV 5 does the same in the UFL. That way we can have both companies involved and interested in football. I hate monopolies. Besides as you mentioned stellar boy, the increased coverage both locally and abroad by ABS CBN, will reach a lot more viewers than TV 5.
THE Philippine Football Federation may not have passed an internal audit done on its finances in 2010, but it will continue receiving financial assistance from the international football federation or FIFA this year.
A yearly grant of $250,000 in assistance to be given in the coming months will have to be done on a delayed basis after the PFF submits a centralized audit report to the PFF this March.
FIFA development officer David Borja said this after the PFF audit reports of 2010 were given to soccer’s world governing body recently.
Borja said appeals were made on the PFF’s behalf after the FIFA noted that there were discrepancies on how the FIFA’s annual financial support of $250,000 was managed in 2010.
The Zurich-based Borja said the PFF cannot be made liable for such irregularities, which reportedly took place during the time of PFF ex-president Jose Mari Martinez. He said it was explained to FIFA that the administration of Martinez was different from that of reelected PFF chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.
This became the reason why the PFF will continue getting its yearly financial support from FIFA.
“The PFF was not supposed to get its financial assistance for 2011 because of the bad 2010 report. But you have to explain it to them (FIFA), that you cannot do that because there are two different sets of administrations (involved),” said Borja.
The appeal became the reason why the FIFA released its full financial support to the PFF.
In 2010, funds amounting P2.8 million were unaccounted for, compelling the PFF to file a case against members of the past administration. The filing of such a case encouraged the FIFA to continue giving PFF financial assistance.
This year, the Philippines is among 20 countries which will undergo an internal audit before FIFA releases its annual assistance.
With FIFA funds absent in the first quarter of the year, the PFF will get an assistance of $100,000 from the Asian Football Confederation when it launches its grassroots program within the next three months. Additional funding of $100,000 will be made available by the AFC this July.
PFF to sign P300-M pact with ABS-CBN By Cedelf P. Tupas Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:00 pm | Saturday, January 14th, 2012 0shareNew0 MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Football Federation is poised to sign a four-year extension worth at least P300 million with television giant ABS-CBN for the airing of matches of the men’s national team as well as its football activities starting this year. PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Friday night said the federation will also stand to receive P1.2 million per Azkals match from the network, which is also required to give P1 million worth of football equipment that will be divided among its 33 member-associations. “They (ABS-CBN) had a better offer,” said Araneta. TV5 also tabled an offer to the PFF but the Federation’s Board opted for ABS-CBN, which held the rights to Azkals matches starting last year during the AFC Challenge Cup. The PFF board has authorized Araneta and Azkals manager Dan Palami to negotiate with ABS-CBN before finalizing the contract. Meanwhile, Araneta said that the PFF has ratified the appointment of NCRFA president Rolly Tulay as general secretary, replacing Chito Manuel, who will be assigned to the PFF’s grassroots committee. Former president Johnny Romualdez has also been appointed treasurer of the PFF. Araneta and Palami were also able to thresh out scheduling concerns with the United Football League regarding the release of players for the build-up to the AFC Challenge Cup. Araneta said the clubs will allow standouts like Phil and James Younghusband to train with the national team for three days and two days with the club. “There are so many football activities and the meeting with the UFL is a step in the right direction,” said Araneta. Araneta said the UFL clubs will also allow players to be released for the 12-day training camp in Dubai, where the Azkals are slated to play three matches including one against Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade on Feb. 6.
It is too bad Bonnie Ladrido is no longer the treasurer. His business background and connections helped the PFF raised funds outside the usual sources and his financial acumen was instrumental in cleaning the PFF's financial books, resulting in a very positive ledger at the end of his term, plus his commitment to accountability and transparency, helped restore the PFF's reputation after the corruption and controversy, that enveloped the organization during the previous administration.
Now that the PFF election is over, instead of tapping the business community, the PFF apparently have decided to go back to rewarding officials with appointments to critical positions. Politics has won the day. Hopefully they retain their previous plan to hire an external auditor to check on the organization's books. It is now the responsibility of the local media, to be vigilant to prevent any more problems in the future.
fifa, the pff and change March 26, 2012 criticaleye2
Starting an accelerated phase for Philippine Football Development, the FIFA Performance Management Programme can be the catalyst for Philippine Football to achieve its rightful place in Asia and World Football. You have potential – make the best use of it.
- FIFA Organization Review Team for the Philippines, 2012
PASIG CITY, Philippines – Recognizing the need to build institutional capacity to handle the growing needs of the Philippine football community, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) wrote FIFA last year and requested an organizational review to assist PFF in identifying its weaknesses and areas for improvement. FIFA responded by sending a 4-man organizational review team under the auspices of PERFORMANCE, the Football Management Programme of FIFA. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also sent an observer.
The team included 2 members of the FIFA Development Office Kuala Lumpur and 2 FIFA Consultants including a former General Secretary of the Football Association of Ireland and a technical consultant from DFB – the German football association. The head of the AFC’s Vision Asia Project also came as an observer.
The week-long review was comprehensive in both the depth and breadth of the areas covered. Various stakeholders of Philippine football were invited to share their thoughts and suggestions. This list included representatives of the POC, PSC, media practitioners, Provincial Football Association (PFA) officials, major corporate supporters of PFF, UAAP, NCAA, UFL and officials of the PFF itself.
Early on, the FIFA Review Team made it clear that they wanted a no-holds barred and candid exchange with the invited participants. To facilitate such, separate meetings were held with the various stakeholders to identify their specific concerns and issues. The preliminary results of the organizational review reflected the environment that the FIFA team encouraged. The initial recommendations are far-reaching – calling for no less than a fundamental and drastic overhaul of existing PFF statutes. These recommendations reflect FIFA’s principle of Football being for ALL.
PFF President Mariano Araneta, Jr. signaled the direction of PFF with regard to these recommendations by saying that now is the time for change. A change that will make PFF more effective and responsive to the needs of the entire Philippine football community and not just to a narrow audience. A change that will continue the drive for transparency and accountability not just within PFF but all the way down to its member associations. A change that will make PFF more inclusive rather than exclusive.
Some of the key FIFA recommendations include the following:
Membership. One of the more contentious and possibly controversial recommendations is to open up the PFF membership roster. Currently, only Provincial Football Associations are eligible for regular membership to the PFF. FIFA recommended that membership should be based on the wider football needs of the Philippines. Some of those organizations identified for regular membership included the NCAA & UAAP, the UFL, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, RIFA and a coaches association.
Organizational structure. FIFA pointed out the potential for confusion with the lack of clarity as to the roles of the internal bodies of the PFF. It was recommended that there be a clear line separating the members of the PFF Board of Governors and their strategic purpose with the heads of the line departments of the PFF who carry out the day to day operational activities of the organization.
Reduce Board-Level Committees. Given the logistical challenges of the archipelagic nature of the Philippines, FIFA recommended that the number of Board-Level Committees be reduced to five. This will eliminate non-functioning committees and allow board members to focus on key areas. It also recommended that membership to these committees should be expanded to include external experts such as finance and banking professionals for the Finance Committee, FIFA Referees for the Referees Committee and so on.
Strengthening of PFF Secretariat. To build additional capacity for he organization in view of the rapid growth of football in the Philippines, FIFA recommended additional full-time and senior-level staff for Finance, Marketing and Communications. Corollary to this, FIFA will soon equip the PFF with the FIFA Football Management System (FMS), an end to end IT enterprise system specifically for football which will be customized for the needs of PFF. It will have the ability to house the PFF database of players, coaches, referees and others. FMS will also have an accounting and finance module for use by PFF Finance. Other functionalities including competition scheduling and referee assignment are being eyed for inclusion in the system.
Limited capacity of PFAs. The limited capacity of some PFAs to fulfill their responsibilities of organizing competitions and implementing development programmes was cited by FIFA as a negative. To address this, the PFF will be requesting that FIFA conduct its FIFA Administration Course in the Philippines. Having said this, it was also stressed that PFAs should take it upon themselves to build up their capacities. It was noted that in certain cases, FIFA cited instances where the withdrawal of support for member associations was warranted given the lack of progress in their areas.
Cooperation with the UFL. FIFA sees the development of an elite league and clubs as a major development focus. In line with this, it cited the need for closer cooperation between the PFF and the UFL pointing out that there are many areas of overlap and mutual interest. A formal club regulation system is also a requirement that needs to be put in place.
Others. Other areas identified as needing improvement and where solutions are being identified include refereeing, beach football and futsal, women’s football and government relationships.
Members of the PFF Board of Governors have already indicated their willingness to consider and implement these changes as proposed by FIFA. The next step will be for implementation visits by FIFA consultants to the Philippines to monitor progress with regard to the changes proposed. On-going reviews by consultants and functional experts will also be a part of the implementation plan. It is expected that the entire process will take 2 to 3 years before the full benefits of this capacity building exercise is felt.
A lot of these changes will necessitate the amendment of PFF’s statutes including its By-Laws. This can only be done by the PFF Congress. To facilitate this process, a Special Congress could prospectively be called to tackle these changes. As FIFA itself is in the process of reviewing the FIFA Standard Statutes, the FIFA team recommended that PFF await the completion of this before initiating the process of amending its own statutes. FIFA’s review is expected to be completed this year.
PFF was also reminded that FIFA support will be dependent on PFF implementation of the recommendations.
FIFA congratulated the PFF for the significant progress that has been made over the past year both on and off the pitch. It cautioned, however, that a lot more needs to be done for the Philippines “to achieve its rightful place in Asia and World Football.”
It is refreshing to see that the PFF is so committed to change that they have sought the help of FIFA and the AFC in the running of their affairs. In this era of transparency and accountability, by allowing other FA's to sit on their meetings, such as members of the Japan Football Association, sitting on their grassroots development meetings recently sharing their experiences with their own football development from decades ago, as well as themselves participating in the Grassroots Development Officers Workshop to train the leaders that will implement this program, they will ensure that progress will continue at an accelerated phase for years to come. I would like to thank FIFA, the AFC and other international football organizations and FA's, for providing this oversight and support and recognizing both the need and the sincerity of the PFF to improve its own affairs. Now if only all organizations in the Philippines both sports and otherwise acted this way, instead of acting at cross purposes with each other as the PFF once did, the future of our country would be very bright indeed.
I have a question for the local observers. Has there been any progress in implementing the FIFA recommendations at the PFF. A lot of their recommendations including having professional league, referee, and women's reps in the PFF board of directors is par for the course in developed countries in Europe and America, and makes a lot of sense. Does anybody know when FIFA is going to make a followup visit to gauge our progress?
On ticket prices to Azkals matches and other thoughts Rick Olivares
Over the past two years where I've served as media officer and handled public relations for the Philippine Men's Football National Team and the Philippine Football Federation, one of the most discussed aspects of organizing a local match is ticket pricing. Believe me when I say that the PFF officials and the Local Organizing Committee have and still do discuss this issue ad infinitum. We also discuss and debate matters on food, water, items to be banned or allowed inside the venue etc. It is a tedious process where we try to do things in the best interests of the Philippine football and the public. One must however realize that hosting an international football match entails a lot of expenses and requirements. The host country always shoulders all the costs including that of the visiting team. Like any visiting pop star, there are riders to take care of and that is a task and a half. There are also expenses on venue rental, repairs and maintenance etc. Believe me when I say that if we could really lower prices then we'd gladly do so but it is simply impossible. But we also try to make it up in others ways by organizing meet and greets, coming up with giveaways, and freebies.
After the match against Icheon Citizen from Korea, I made two suggestions to the LOC: one, that we hold a pep and cheer rally for the national team, and two, that we also hold a home match in Panaad, Bacolod. The first one we were able to achieve. The second, well, it is in the works.
One other project that I am really trying to work on is the media accreditation and the creation of formal and year-round media ID. It's something that we hope will be able to fly soon when I concretize the development plan as well as its budget. The idea is to have one ID that will serve as the official ID for all PFF-sanctioned events in a calendar year. That will save the federation a lot of money and time and effort. As it is, it's a bloody waste of time and money printing new ID/AD cards for every match. You see, my dad taught me not to be wasteful with money. Maybe that is why I am able to stretch my PR budget at work from a period of one year to 15-16 months. Haha. The downside of that is my bosses will not increase my budgets for the following year. Argh. To be caught between a rock and a hard place.
So keep it glued here and in the sites and newspapers of my fellow media as we try to provide more info and services for our home games. Now let's all go out and support the growth of the beautiful game in this country.
Sustaining the Surge of Philippine Football by Aris Caslib
The Men's National Team has developed winning as part of their habit in the last three years with the 3rd place finish in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in Nepal as a manifestation of its success. The combination of the good leadership of Dan Palami, the efficient coaching of Michael Weiss, continuing advocacy and faith to the whole group of U17 and U19 team manager Alvin Carranza, and the players they have scouted all over the world manifest the formula for us to move further and make football the game for Filipinos.
However, sustaining the success entails a lot of layers of responsibility and task.
1. In the grassroots level, quality grassroots experts are needed in all the 33 provincial football associations to ensure the football activities are continuous with combinations of training, competitions, and festivals for the kids. At the same time, grassroots experts must be trained by experts not only from our country but AFC and the International Football Federation (FIFA). 2. Coaches' development must be sustained. Last year, the first batch of Filipinos took the AFC A-license level training and resulted to 7 potential new A-licensed coaches in the country. According to Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Secretary-general Atty. Rolando Tulay, "Continuing education is needed for coaches as quality coaches produce quality players, and quality players will give honor in the Philippines." 3. Club level and age group competitions are needed, both for girls and boys and men and women. These competitions will help us identify talent for future national youth teams.
And finally, the development of national youth teams in the country is important. This key component has been highlighted by PFF President Mariano V. Araneta in his program.
For us to sustain the success, national youth teams must be developed further and exposed to competitions domestically and internationally. Partnerships with people who believe in the game is an important ingredient of the program. Elite coaches must be further developed by assessment and continuing education.
National team development in any country is always based on the strength of grassroots and national youth teams. Supporting our age group teams will help us keep the momentum forward.
Jose Ariston "Aris" Caslib is the technical director of the Philippine Football Federation. He oversees the development of our national soccer teams, from the Senior Azkals and Malditas to the Little Azkals and Malditas, the U-14 teams. For more info about our soccer squads, you may send an e-mail to him at email@example.com
ImAFootyFan: 6 days left, The Azkals will be playing again!
Mar 17, 2022 16:25:08 GMT 8
myfrndsareazn: Aidan Daniels looking good for HFX Wanderers in their season opener against York United in the Canadian Premier League. I think Matthew Baldisimo is ready to go for Pacific ahead of their opener.
Apr 9, 2022 1:51:29 GMT 8