Cedelf P. Tupas
MANILA---Fearing repercussions on their international football careers, brothers Phil and James Younghusband have deferred taking up an offer to play for Jakarta FC of the newly formed Indonesia Premiere League (LPI).
The Younghusband brothers met with LPI general manager Arya Abhiseka and officials of Jakarta FC yesterday in Manila, but the proposed three-year deal to bring them to play for the Indonesian club was not finalized.
Though the brothers did not discuss it, people privy to the negotiations told the Inquirer that there were concerns the former Chelsea reserve players may face sanctions from the International Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation since the league is not sanctioned by the Football Association of Indonesia (FAI).
“Nothing is finalized yet, but once it is final, we will come out with a statement,” Phil said in a text message to the Inquirer.
FAI general secretary Nugraha Besoes had sent the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) a letter Wednesday urging the PFF to discourage the Younghusbands from signing with the club.
“We kindly ask your good office to prevent your national players to be (sic) in negotiations with such a club to prevent damaging their football careers in the future,” said Besoes in his letter to PFF counterpart Chito Manuel, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer.
Besoes described Jakarta FC as an “obscure football club playing in a runaway competition which has been declared by Fifa as unacceptable as they are not within the structure of the FAI.”
Franco Lorenzo, the assistant team manager of the Azkals, who is helping out in the negotiations, said they “cannot compromise the players’ interests,” one of which is to represent the Philippines in international competitions.
“That’s why there was no decision made,” Lorenzo said. “The Younghusbands should not be dragged into the internal strife in Indonesian football. We have to be convinced that nothing will happen to them if they play for Jakarta FC.”