By Abac Cordero
MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the world’s governing body in the sport, the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA, are bringing in legal officers to Manila to look deeper into the mess within the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
Once they arrive, the AFC and FIFA officers will first sit down with Jose Mari Martinez, the deposed PFF president, before hearing Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, who took over Martinez as the head of Philippine football.
Martinez recently came under fire due to allegations that he had mishandled the PFF funds under his tenure, leading the heads of 26 of the 33 football associations nationwide to vote for his ouster.
The FIFA recently gave its blessings on Araneta as the rightful PFF head, saying that Martinez’ ouster was done accordingly.
The FIFA also said it will soon perform a complete audit of the PFF funds, probably in a bid to uncover any irregularity if there is such.
Martinez, according to source, yesterday filed a TRO (temporary restraining order) that would stop Araneta from performing the duties as PFF president.
It was also reported that Martinez is considering filing a case before the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) in Switzerland.
Going to the CAS will be a very costly move, but Martinez apparently has the backing of the Mohamed Bin Hammam, the rich and powerful AFC president from Qatar.
The TRO was filed before the Pasig Regional Trial Court by Martinez’ lawyer yesterday, and should be raffled off this week.
Araneta is in Jakarta attending the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Council meeting.
Araneta said he’s unaware of Martinez’ move.
“He filed a TRO? A TRO for what? I’m not aware of that,” he said in a phone call from Jakarta.
Araneta said he would make communications with the AFF and FIFA as soon as possible to inquire about their plan to send legal officers to Manila.