SPORTS officials in the country are divided over whether to construct a new football coliseum that could be the home base of the national football team or renovate the existing stadium in the Rizal Memorial Complex in Manila.
The House Committee on Youth and Sports Development recently held a hearing on House Bill 4298 authored by Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao party-list Maximo Rodriguez Jr.
The proposed legislation would allow the appropriation of P300 million for the construction of a 75,000-capacity world class football stadium.
“It is high time that we bring back the glory days of football in the Philippines like in the 70's and the 80's when the Philippine football team was among the strongest in Asia,” the Rodriguez brothers said.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ricardo Garcia said the PSC, and the Philippine Football Federation and International Football Federation (FIFA), meanwhile, have agreed to fund the renovation of the Rizal Memorial Complex making it the football coliseum of the Philippines.
“FIFA agreed to infuse $500,000 yearly for the renovation of the football field and the stadium according to international standards,” Garcia said.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, however, argued that Clark is the more ideal location for a world class football stadium compared to the Rizal Memorial Complex.
“The Rizal Memorial Complex cannot provide parking spaces for the seating capacity of 25,000 to 75,000 persons,” Cojuangco said.
Cojuangco said the Olympic Council of Asia gave a grant of $50,000 to POC for the preparation of a master plan of a sports complex in Clark, which is supported by the International Olympic Committee.
The Philippine Azkals, the country’s national football team, has competed with other nations in the Rizal Memorial Complex and in the Pannad stadium in Bacolod. The Panaad stadium has a 20,000-seat capacity.
The lawmakers said that neighbors in Asia have bigger football stadiums compared to the Philippines. Indonesia has the Bung Kamo Stadium with a 100,000 capacity, Vietnam has the My Dinh stadium with a capacity of 30,000, Cambodia has the 50,000-capacity National Olympic Stadium, Singapore has the 55,000-capacity Stadium of Singapore and Myanmar has the Bogyoke Aung San Stadium with a capacity of 40,000.
“As the sport gains popularity, so does the number of Filipinos who want to see our team perform live in action,” they stressed. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)
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