The Philippine Football Federation has sent a bid to host the region’s top football competition, the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, hoping that the construction of the world’s largest arena in Bulacan could boost the country’s chances to stage the tournament in 2016.
PFF secretary general Ed Gastanes told InterAKTV that the country has already made formal its intention to host the tournament.
“PFF submitted a bid to host the Final Round of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016,” Gastanes said.
The construction of the Philippine Arena in Bulacan could help the country secure the hosting rights, according to Gastanes. The $213-million venue, owned by Iglesia ni Cristo, is poised to become the world’s largest arena with a 50,000-seating capacity.
“We hope to see completion in late 2014 of the football and track stadium being built by the Iglesia ni Cristo in Bulacan and hope that in 2016 PFF will be allowed to make use of the stadium for international competition,” Gastanes said.
Aside from the Philippine Arena, the PFF is also looking at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila, the Panaad Football Stadium in Bacolod City and the Cebu City Sports Complex in Cebu as possible venues of the tournament.
In 2010, the Azkals made a memorable run in the Suzuki Cup, advancing to the semifinals for the first time in a performance which forever changed the football landscape in the country.
But during that stint, the country lacked a suitable venue to host the Azkals’ home leg in their semifinals match against Indonesia, which ended their Cinderella run in the tournament.
The Filipinos finally played their first home match in the tournament at the Rizal Stadium last year, settling for a nil-nil draw against eventual champion Singapore in the semifinals.