PFF lauds CFA on brawl probe

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 23 2014 03:10 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2014 11:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation has lauded the Cebu Football Association for its “swift action” on the ugly on-pitch brawl in Mandaue but would like to see the Cebuano body throw the book on spectators involved in the melee.

PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes said they have already received the CFA’s report detailing its investigation and corresponding sanctions meted out on those who figured in the melee that marred the game between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC in the 16th Aboitiz Cup U-18 meet in Mandaue City.

The coaches of the two squads and nine players were slapped six-month suspensions by the CFA. Per football protocol it only covers sanctioned tournaments in Cebu but the PFF could extend it in scope, like nationwide, if the CFA would later request it and the national federation would find merit in doing so.

The Cebu body’s initial report did not yet include penalties on spectators who stormed to the pitch and joined the fight.

“We note that the CFA acted swiftly on the matter and has imposed penalties on guilty parties. We’re awaiting further reports on what the CFA will do on spectators because penalties imposed were only on players and coaches,” Gastanes said.

“If spectators who entered the football pitch have been identified, we would be interested to know what will be the sanction of CFA,” he added.

The CFA is expected to give a more comprehensive report during the PFF board meeting today.

There’s a possibility that suspensions will be enforced even beyond Cebu.

“If CFA makes a request for PFF to extend the sanctions imposed on the coaches and players beyond Cebu City then the PFF will act on it quite swiftly and promptly, also. But there’s no (such) request yet,” said the PFF exec.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will be the first beneficiary of the “Indestructible Footballs” from the Asian Football Confederation and One World Futbol Project.

Dr. Annathurai Ranganathan, the AFC’s head of corporate social responsibility, is in the country for the ceremonial handover of the balls to the PFF and actual distribution. The 5,500 balls initially donated will be released to the regional associations and to NGOs involved in the promotion of the sport.

Ranganathan said the ball has a resistance level 200 times better than normal balls, and can thus be used longer, even on concrete grounds.