MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – FIFA, football's world governing body, has denied the Philippine Football Federation's (PFF) appeal to lift the 1-game suspension on 2 key Azkals, Aly Borromeo and Stephan Schrock.
The decision may affect the Philippine Azkals' away game on Saturday in Kuwait.
“We will be playing the 1st leg without Schrocky and Aly,” Azkals team manager Dan Palami said via his Twitter account.
The FIFA decision saddened Borromeo, the Azkals team captain.
He, however, expressed confidence that his team mates will do everything to upset Kuwait.
“Disheartening news for me that I can't be on the pitch with the boys tomorrow.. But I trust the boys will step up and represent!” said Borromeo through his Twitter account.
The team was hoping that FIFA would heed the PFF's appeal, especially after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) endorsed the petition to rescind the suspensions on Borromeo and Schrock.
Borromeo and Schrock were suspended for 1 game after each of them incurred 2 yellow cards during the 1st round qualifier between the Philippine Azkals and the Sri Lankan Brave Reds.
PFF based its appeal on Article 37, paragraph 1 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which makes it possible for the lifting of suspensions to yellow cards or cautions "that have not resulted in an expulsion".
FIFA, however, said in its advice to the AFC that the rule does not cover the case of Borromeo and Schrock.
“Your request, however, is in regards to the following players; Alexander Borromeo and Stephan Schrock, who had received two cautions in two different matches in the first round of the said qualifiers (against Sri Lanka on 29 June 2011 and 03 July 2011, respectively), this warrants an automatic suspension for the match against Kuwait on 23 July 2011,” AFC General Secretary Alex Soosay said in a letter addressed to PFF General Secretary Ramon Manuel.
The two Azkals played major roles in the Azkals’ 5-1 aggregate victory over Sri Lanka.
Borromeo was a big part in the Azkals’ defensive scheme while Schrock was instrumental in providing scoring opportunities for his team mates.
Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss, however, remains hopeful of their chances against higher-ranked Kuwait on Saturday.
"We are underdogs in many aspects, but the team [members] are on their top form, and we will strive to defy the odds," he said in FIFA.com.