The Philippine Football Federation said that lack of suitable venues cost the country’s hosting of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup this year.
But the PFF didn’t categorically say that it is already giving up hosting rights, saying that it will raise the issue to the organizers in a meeting next month.
In a statement, the PFF said the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila didn’t pass the standards of the AFF which required hosting venues to have a seating capacity of at least 30,000. Rizal Stadium can only accommodate at least 12,000.
Meanwhile, the newly built Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan, which can house at least 20,000 people, was also ruled out as the PFF and the Iglesia Ni Cristo-owned venue repeatedly failed to come to terms with an agreement.
“After inspection by its rights holder Lagardere Sports (formerly World Sports Group), the Asean Football Federation (AFF) has disapproved the 15-thousand seat Rizal Memorial Football Stadium as primary venue of the Group Stage matches to be hosted by the Philippines,” the PFF said in a statement.
“The 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup competition regulations require among others a minimum 30-thousand seat capacity for primary venues of group stage matches.
“While the 20-thousand seat privately-owned Philippine Sports Stadium has also been nominated, AFF however requires submission of a written stadium hire contract. Deadline of 31 January 2016 and further deadline of 9 February 2016 have lapsed without PFF receiving a signed contract from PSS.”
With the venue issues, the PFF said that it “is compelled to bring the matter to AFF and will take up the stadia qualification” in an AFF Council meeting on March 12 in Vietnam.
Should the Philippines totally lose the right to host the Suzuki Cup, this would mark the second time that the country would be denied to stage the tournament.
During the Azkals’ Cinderella run to the semifinals in 2010, the Filipinos were forced to play their home game abroad as football stadiums in the country didn’t suit Suzuki Cup’s requirements.