The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is set to make an appeal to retain the hosting rights of the 2016 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup during the AFF meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam on March 12.
The PFF wants the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium (RMFS) to be the primary venue of the meet.
“We are telling them to approve Rizal [RMFS] as the primary stadium. There is only a chance [that we can retain the hosting] if they approve Rizal,” PFF President Mariano Araneta told The Manila Times.
The RMFS, which was built in 1934 and has been the home of the national football team for most of its home matches, has a maximum seating capacity of 12,873. But as per the Suzuki Cup hosting regulations, the primary venue for the group stage of the tournament should at least have a 30-thousand seating capacity.
“We are the only country now that does not own a national stadium. Even the other countries have their own 20,000 to 25,000-capacity stadiums. But us, we only have a 1934-built stadium. That’s why the Suzuki Cup is on the balance,” Araneta added.
Meanwhile, in a statement released by the AFF on their official website on February 24, the regional football body announced that the Philippines has already withdrawn as the host of the biennial cup because of failure to meet the requirements. But PFF General Secretary lawyer Ed Gastanes denied the statement.
Besides the RMFS, the PFF is also proposing the Philippine Sports Stadium (PSS) as an alternative venue for the tournament though Araneta explained that a contract must be signed first.
“Unfortunately, with the PSS, there’s no contract. So we cannot go through with something that there is no contract. That would be suicidal for us,” he said.
“We will push that Rizal will be the primary stadium. If they say what’s your secondary stadium, we’ll put Panaad,” he added.
However, Araneta emphasized that it will still depend on the efforts of the rights holder of the tilt to improve the venue.
“It will all depend on the Lagardere Sports Media (Formerly World Sports Group) because if they [AFF] don’t see the stadium to be fit, it wont be possible. They [Lagardere Sports Media] have to fix the stadium to make it more attractive on television. If they can see that it can be done, maybe they will give us a chance,” he said.