AFF official says PH can host 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup finals

The Philippines can host the 2012 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, according to an agreement forged yesterday by the Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman Monico Puentevella and the AFF Competitions Committee Chairman Ravy Khek. PhilStar.com quoted Puentevella: "We shook hands on this."

"There are only three things we’re asking for: lighting, security and live broadcast," Khek told PhilStar.com. The AFF requires a venue to have 1,200 luminous lights because all matches are held at night. The Panaad Stadium in Bacolod-which hosted the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, the 2006 AFF qualifier and the 1999 Asian Women’s Championship-only has 500 luminous lights.

 

Panaad Stadium in Bacolod. Screencap from the "AFF Bring the semifinals to the Philippines" Facebook page.

 

Khek told PhilStar.com that the AFF is re-assessing the Panaad Stadium. In case it does not meet the AFF’s requirements, Khek said the Philippines’ "hosting of the next group stage (in 2012) is a great possibility."

He also addressed the controversy regarding the Philippine team opposing the decision of Jose Mari Martinez, ousted president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), to hold the country's home game against Indonesia in Jakarta. Martinez told PhilStar.com earlier that they found "no football stadium acceptable" to the AFF. The first of the supposed home-and-away series ended up being held at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. (The Philippines lost, 0-1). The second will be held in the same venue on December 19.

Khek told PhilStar.com, "As committee chairman, I had the chance to assess the (possible) venues in the Philippines but all three stadiums (in Bacolod, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the University of Makati) had problems. I was there when Bacolod hosted the AFF qualifier. I know its strengths and weaknesses."

Khek also commented on the leadership dispute within the PFF. Martinez was ousted in November but FIFA still recognizes him as the president of the PFF. "As the AFF we have to recognize the FIFA stand of status quo and that means Jose Mari Martinez is still your president. But the rule of democracy is always important."

For more on this story, log on to PhilStar.com.

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