when the Azkals rage is stilled – a responsePosted: April 10, 2011
This is a response to Mr. Manolo Inigo’s column entitled “When the Azkals rage is stilled” which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Dear Mr. Inigo, thank you very much for ventilating your concerns over the decision to hold the World Cup qualifying game of the Philippine Azkals on July 3rd against Sri Lanka at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Rest assured that we are mindful of the expenses that will be incurred in the hosting of this game.
We would like, however, to correct the impression that the funds to be used to prepare for the game will be that of our hard-earned taxpayers. The Philippine Football Federation (PFF), which is a private non-profit organization, will be investing in the refurbishment of Rizal Memorial using funds which have generously been provided to us by our private sector partners who like us believe in the potential of the Filipino in eventually competing on the world stage in the sport of football.
We would also like to assure you that the decision to hold the World Cup qualifying game in Manila was not made on a whim. Several other potential host cities and provinces were considered during the selection process.
We are and will continue to be grateful to the city of Bacolod and the province of Negros Occidental for being gracious hosts of the Asian Challenge Cup qualifier at the Panaad Stadium. It is, however, also important to bear in mind that as we strive to gain a foothold in the consciousness of the Philippine sporting public, it is only proper that we consider other deserving locations for hosting events like this.
The Azkals are not ours; they belong to the Filipino people who they continuously strive to ably represent. As such, it is our obligation to share them with as many of our countrymen as possible by holding their matches at various locales. Panaad and other sites in the Philippines will continue to be considered for future fixtures of the Azkals as well as the other national football teams.
We, at the new PFF, are more than aware that the opportunity that we have at hand to promote the development of football in the country may pass us by if we do not consciously and judiciously build on the success of the Azkals. It is with this in mind that we have made the decision to invest in facilities that will allow us to attract other countries to play in the Philippines for “friendlies”. At this stage of our development, it is quite difficult to do so given the state of our facilities. We will within reason and again with the backing of our corporate sponsors continue to invest what we can to upgrade our facilities. It is in line with this that it is just but natural to fund the refurbishment of a facility in the capital of the country.
We are not blind to the hardships that our nation and people face. In fact, we hope that a successful result in our tie with Sri Lanka can provide a unifying activity for our people to cheer for both team and country. And, as mentioned, we will strive to provide this venue without totally relying on taxpayer funds.
Corporate sponsorship does demand an adherence to certain governance standards to ensure the continued support of these generous donors. We have begun making changes to the PFF, as an organization, to promote efficiency in the way we do things while at the same time instituting financial controls to ensure transparency and accountability within PFF. These efforts have also been undertaken with the assistance of our corporate supporters and volunteers who have graciously shared with us not just their financial wherewithal but also their knowledge and expertise, their time and even their personnel. This is in line with our bid to professionalize the PFF.
The PFF has no choice. It will only be able to continue to attract corporate sponsorship if these generous organizations believe that their money is being put to good use. The PFF is a non-profit organization. Our ability to promote and develop the sport will largely depend on our ability to engender trust and confidence among our backers. It is imperative that we do this because the sustainability of the gains we have made will only be achievable through an honest to goodness grassroots program.
Developing a sustainable grassroots program will take time, effort and money. If the PFF cannot attract long-term support from those who support it now, we will never achieve our aim of finding future Azkals on a consistent basis.
Mr. Inigo, these are building blocks to building a professional and responsible organization. We will make mistakes along the way but we will learn from these mistakes. You do not have to take what is written here at face value, we invite you to visit us at PFF and see for yourself what we have begun to do. Hopefully by doing so, you will come to realize that we are working this hard to ensure that the Azkals rage will never be stilled.
- the Philippine Azkals and their continuing search for home (ladrido.net)
- You: Football is alive and kicking in Philippines (menafn.com)