FIFA review of Philippine football underway in Cebu

UPCOMING GOALS. Mariano Araneta hopes that aside from FIFA funding, there is hope sponsors will help for youth development. Photo from Mars Alison/Rappler

UPCOMING GOALS. Mariano Araneta hopes that aside from FIFA funding, there is hope sponsors will help for youth development.

Photo from Mars Alison/Rappler

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF), which has been under the administration of Mariano “Nonong” Araneta for the past 5 years, will undergo an assessment by FIFA representatives who have gathered in Cebu this weekend along with a representative from the Asian Football Confederation for the FIFA Organizational Review/Leadership Retreat this Saturday, June 18.

This will be followed by the 3rd PFF Board of Governors (BOG) Meeting for 2016 tomorrowSunday

Both events will be held at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City. The Cebu Football Association headed by Pericles “Ricky” Dakay will be hosting the two events.

Araneta said that FIFA had a big role in crafting the new PFF administration when he was first unanimously voted by the PFF Congress as the PFF president in 2010, replacing the late Jose Mari Martinez. Last year Araneta was once again voted unanimously to continue leading the National Sports Association for football, extending his leadership role for another 4 years.

FIFA, which had helped craft the new administration of the PFF, is now back to review the their progress as well as help plan its direction for the next 4 years based on the assessment.

According to Araneta, over the past 5 years, the PFF has achieved a lot in terms of coaching structure as they now have more A, B and C licensed coaches.

“When we started 4 to 5 years ago, we only had 2 A licensed coaches, now we have 24, C was a hundred plus, now we have almost 400, so these are really essential football development, and I think Cebu (CFA) is one of the associations that have tried their best to develop coaches and referees,” Araneta said to the local sports reporters after a welcome dinner last night, Friday, June 17, which was hosted by Dakay.

However, for Araneta, the biggest achievement of his administration's last term is taking steps to make the PFF’s governance transparent, which has earned the trust of sponsors. 

“I think we have brought football to the perception of being transparent, as far as good governance is concerned. Making the football governance more transparent is very important so that the sponsors will see that we are really doing our best,” said Araneta.

MEETING UP. Representatives from FIFA and AFC gather. Photo from Mars Alison/Rappler

MEETING UP. Representatives from FIFA and AFC gather.

Photo from Mars Alison/Rappler

According to Araneta, when he first took over, the PFF only had a small amount of money in the bank but now they have gathered more sponsors as well as more support from the FIFA, AFC and the Asean Football Federation (AFF).

“Because of the transparency, people are contributing more, FIFA comes here, teams have improved internationally and locally,” added Araneta.

Also, from an annual $250,000 funding from FIFA, this will now be increased to $1.250 million, which Araneta said a part will be used as a seed funding for the youth development, which he admits lacks development unlike the national team, which has flourished in recent years under Coach Thomas Dooley.

The increased FIFA funding will go to boosting development of the sport. The previous amount saw 15 percent go to women's football, international and local competitions each, plus technical training such as coaching and refereeing courses.

The PFF president said that in today’s review, he will suggest to the FIFA representatives that the PFF would now like to focus in youth development, “We have the grassroots but our youth development is dependent on DepEd, so I’d like to discuss with them about harnessing grassroots material to develop into the youth.”

Araneta said that aside from the FIFA funding, they also hoped to encourage sponsors to invest in the youth development.

Aside from the focus on youth development, Araneta said that they would also be discussing with the FIFA representatives the formation of a National League which will be community-based and which they hope to introduce by next year.

The FIFA representatives in the Philippines to conduct the review are Kenneth Macleod, Kevan Pipe, Domeka Garamendi, Mike Pfister and Jochen Figge while the lone AFC representative is Sonam Jigmi.  – Rappler.com