fifa, the pff and change

Starting an accelerated phase for Philippine Football Development, the FIFA Performance Management Programme can be the catalyst for Philippine Football to achieve its rightful place in Asia and World Football. You have potential – make the best use of it.

– FIFA Organization Review Team for the Philippines, 2012

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Recognizing the need to build institutional capacity to handle the growing needs of the Philippine football community, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) wrote FIFA last year and requested an organizational review to assist PFF in identifying its weaknesses and areas for improvement. FIFA responded by sending a 4-man organizational review team under the auspices of PERFORMANCE, the Football Management Programme of FIFA. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also sent an observer.

The team included 2 members of the FIFA Development Office Kuala Lumpur and 2 FIFA Consultants including a former General Secretary of the Football Association of Ireland and a technical consultant from DFB – the German football association. The head of the AFC’s Vision Asia Project also came as an observer.

The week-long review was comprehensive in both the depth and breadth of the areas covered. Various stakeholders of Philippine football were invited to share their thoughts and suggestions. This list included representatives of the POC, PSC, media practitioners, Provincial Football Association (PFA) officials, major corporate supporters of PFF, UAAP, NCAA, UFL and officials of the PFF itself.

Early on, the FIFA Review Team made it clear that they wanted a no-holds barred and candid exchange with the invited participants. To facilitate such, separate meetings were held with the various stakeholders to identify their specific concerns and issues. The preliminary results of the organizational review reflected the environment that the FIFA team encouraged. The initial recommendations are far-reaching – calling for no less than a fundamental and drastic overhaul of existing PFF statutes. These recommendations reflect FIFA’s principle of Football being for ALL.

PFF President Mariano Araneta, Jr. signaled the direction of PFF with regard to these recommendations by saying that now is the time for change. A change that will make PFF more effective and responsive to the needs of the entire Philippine football community and not just to a narrow audience. A change that will continue the drive for transparency and accountability not just within PFF but all the way down to its member associations. A change that will make PFF more inclusive rather than exclusive.

Some of the key FIFA recommendations include the following:

Membership. One of the more contentious and possibly controversial recommendations is to open up the PFF membership roster. Currently, only Provincial Football Associations are eligible for regular membership to the PFF. FIFA recommended that membership should be based on the wider football needs of the Philippines. Some of those organizations identified for regular membership included the NCAA & UAAP, the UFL, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, RIFA and a coaches association.

Organizational structure. FIFA pointed out the potential for confusion with the lack of clarity as to the roles of the internal bodies of the PFF. It was recommended that there be a clear line separating the members of the PFF Board of Governors and their strategic purpose with the heads of the line departments of the PFF who carry out the day to day operational activities of the organization.

Reduce Board-Level Committees. Given the logistical challenges of the archipelagic nature of the Philippines, FIFA recommended that the number of Board-Level Committees be reduced to five. This will eliminate non-functioning committees and allow board members to focus on key areas. It also recommended that membership to these committees should be expanded to include external experts such as finance and banking professionals for the Finance Committee, FIFA Referees for the Referees Committee and so on.

Strengthening of PFF Secretariat. To build additional capacity for he organization in view of the rapid growth of football in the Philippines, FIFA recommended additional full-time and senior-level staff for Finance, Marketing and Communications. Corollary to this, FIFA will soon equip the PFF with the FIFA Football Management System (FMS), an end to end IT enterprise system specifically for football which will be customized for the needs of PFF. It will have the ability to house the PFF database of players, coaches, referees and others. FMS will also have an accounting and finance module for use by PFF Finance. Other functionalities including competition scheduling and referee assignment are being eyed for inclusion in the system.

Limited capacity of PFAs. The limited capacity of some PFAs to fulfill their responsibilities of organizing competitions and implementing development programmes was cited by FIFA as a negative. To address this, the PFF will be requesting that FIFA conduct its FIFA Administration Course in the Philippines. Having said this, it was also stressed that PFAs should take it upon themselves to build up their capacities. It was noted that in certain cases, FIFA cited instances where the withdrawal of support for member associations was warranted given the lack of progress in their areas.

Cooperation with the UFL. FIFA sees the development of an elite league and clubs as a major development focus. In line with this, it cited the need for closer cooperation between the PFF and the UFL pointing out that there are many areas of overlap and mutual interest. A formal club regulation system is also a requirement that needs to be put in place.

Others. Other areas identified as needing improvement and where solutions are being identified include refereeing, beach football and futsal, women’s football and government relationships.

Members of the PFF Board of Governors have already indicated their willingness to consider and implement these changes as proposed by FIFA. The next step will be for implementation visits by FIFA consultants to the Philippines to monitor progress with regard to the changes proposed. On-going reviews by consultants and functional experts will also be a part of the implementation plan. It is expected that the entire process will take 2 to 3 years before the full benefits of this capacity building exercise is felt.

A lot of these changes will necessitate the amendment of PFF’s statutes including its By-Laws. This can only be done by the PFF Congress. To facilitate this process, a Special Congress could prospectively be called to tackle these changes. As FIFA itself is in the process of reviewing the FIFA Standard Statutes, the FIFA team recommended that PFF await the completion of this before initiating the process of amending its own statutes. FIFA’s review is expected to be completed this year.

PFF was also reminded that FIFA support will be dependent on PFF implementation of the recommendations.

FIFA congratulated the PFF for the significant progress that has been made over the past year both on and off the pitch. It cautioned, however, that a lot more needs to be done for the Philippines “to achieve its rightful place in Asia and World Football.”


3 Comments on “fifa, the pff and change”

  1. cjeagle says:

    It is refreshing to see that the PFF is so committed to change that they have sought the help of FIFA and the AFC in the running of their affairs. In this era of transparency and accountability, by allowing other FA’s to sit on their meetings, such as members of the Japan Football Association, sitting on their grassroots development meetings recently sharing their experiences with their own football development from decades ago, they will ensure that progress will continue at an accelerated phase for years to come. I would like to thank FIFA, the AFC and other international football organizations, for providing this oversight and recognizing both the need and the sincerity of the PFF to improve its own affairs. Now if only all organizations in the Philippines both sports and otherwise acted this way, instead of acting at cross purposes with each other as the PFF once did, the future of our country would be very bright indeed.

  2. cjeagle says:

    I have a question for the local observers. Has there been any progress in implementing the FIFA recommendations at the PFF. A lot of their recommendations including having professional league, referee, and women’s reps in the PFF board of directors is par for the course in developed countries in Europe and America, and makes a lot of sense. Does anybody know when FIFA is going to make a followup visit to gauge our progress?

  3. cjeagle says:

    critical eye,

    I thought you might be interested in this discussion in usapang concerning a program that Coach and German expert Bernard Zgoll tried to implement decades ago in the Philippines. I think it has relevance today, because of presence of the public and private support, that was missing when he first tried to organize this back then.

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