PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Monico Puentevella yesterday said like the Philippine football team and the fans, he deplore the decision made by the Asean Football Federation (AFF) barring the Philippines from hosting the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Bacolod.
The POC head, who is in Oman for the Asian Beach Games, said the AFF has made the judgment without consulting the national team management or even inspected the facilities.
In a statement issued at its website, the AFF said, “The Philippines will not be able to play a leg of their semi-final or subsequent final at a home venue due to no available stadia in the country meeting the requirements for the AFF Suzuki Cup. The AFF took the decision after careful consideration and talks with the relevant
But Puentevella is hoping the AFF will change its mind.
“We believe that this is an opportunity to provide Filipinos with a chance to watch some world-class football action that will inspire our countrymen to take up the sport and break new ground for the Philippines,” Puentevella said.
On the other hand, Negros Occidental provincial sports coordinator and executive assistant Angel Verdeflor confirmed that Panaad Stadium is ready to host the leg.
“They can see the field anytime,” he added.
Panaad Stadium has been used in international competitions for the past years—the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, Asian Football Under-16 and even the AFF Championship qualifiers.
Puentevella also said he has already sent AFF a letter to reconsider Panaad as a venue for the semis leg. Fans have also started an online campaign for hosting the matches at home. ML with a report from Sun.Star Bacolod
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