Fraud allegations hound Azkals' accuser

by Jojo Malig, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jul 12 2011 07:24 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2011 07:08 AM

A screenshot of the Facebook account of Paul Weiler, who has accused 4 members of the Philippine Azkals national football team of raping a woman.

MANILA, Philippines - Allegations of fraud are hounding a German who has accused 4 members of the Philippine Azkals national football team of raping a woman.

Football blogs and website forums dating back to 2006, such as one thread at Azkals.com, have accused Paul Weiler of making up stories with regard to his official positions in sports organizations.

Other accusations of wrongdoing have also been levelled at Weiler through the years on Cebu Football and PinoyExchange.com.

Weiler, in an email interview Tuesday with abs-cbnNEWS.com, dismissed the allegations against him.

"To mention me as fake and fraud is very degrading," he said. Weiler claimed that he has received coverage in European media about his work for Philippine football.

"Famous internet-sportmagazine spox.com reported about my search for new coach of Philippine National Team  in December/January 2010," he said.

He added that some people might just be "jealous" about him.

In the same interview, Weiler insisted that he is currently a consultant of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and received the nod of former football body chief Jose Mari Martinez, who has since been ousted and replaced by a PFF congress.

He denied a statement made by Azkals team manager Dan Palami that Weiler does not have any official position under the current PFF, and only volunteered to scout for possible players for the national team.

He said the DFB (German football federation) does not accept volunteers. "I was accepted as full PFF consultant, and also Mr. Weiss spoke not about volunteer scout in German famous kicker magazine!"

PFF President Mariano "Nonong" Araneta on Tuesday denied Weiler's claim of being an officer of the organization.

"Paul Weiler is misrepresenting himself and misrepresenting the PFF," Araneta said.

He said the PFF will support the Azkals players if they decide to sue Weiler for libel. "They know their rights,” he added. “The PFF will support them."

That 'rape' case

Questions regarding Weiler's background cropped up on social networking websites following his allegations that Azkals players Neil Etheridge, Anton del Rosario, Simon Greatwich, and Jason Sabio raped a woman.

In the the same interview with abs-cbnNEWS.com, Weiler refused to identify the alleged victim and said he will refer the matter to the German police and the DFB "under German law."

He admitted, however, that he does not have first-hand information regarding the alleged rape case, claiming that he only heard it from national team gaffer Michael Weiss and Etheridge.

Weiss and Etheridge have yet to comment on the allegation, even as 3 Azkals members have denied that such an incident took place.

"I thought Mr. Weiss would... would suspend players, but he didn't move, so I did," Weiler said.

He skirted answering a question on why no case has been filed yet by the alleged victim against the Azkals players.

He also claimed that the allegations will benefit the Philippine national football team.

"(The) Philippine Azkals will achieve a higher level and fans can be more proud of (the) Azkals," he said. "I only want to have more higher serious football minded quality in Azkals and PFF... more transparency...and not behaviours which are counterproductive for development of Philfootball and Azkals."

'Venomous pattern'

Weiler's incomplete statement on the alleged rape case, as well as allegations on his personal background and motive, have triggered more questions than answers.

Cebu-based journalist Mike Limpag told abs-cbnNEWS.com that he has known Weiler since 2004.

He said he started ignoring the German in 2005 after Weiler's "football ideas got a lot grander and weirder."

Limpag also said Weiler has a habit of talking to himself on online chat.

"I have a chat box, (in my old blog). One time, there were 2 guys having the same conversation. Since I know Paul's style, I told him to stop using 2 identities to 'talk.' He denied it was him. So I checked the IP adress of the 2 nicknames and they shared one, down to the last digit. Paul still denied, he said something maybe the guy used the same PC after him. I pointed out chat messages were just seconds apart. He still denied it."

In a blog post on Tuesday, "Why I ignored the Azkal rumor," Limpag said Weiler "used to e-mail the Cebu media almost every day, with reactions or suggestions."

"Most of the e-mails were libelous 'football mafia, match-fixing' and were all ignored. He stopped and frankly, I was happy to be finally rid of him," he added.

"To be honest, I've long given up on trying to understand Paul. I think I told him once that I'd go nuts if I try to understand him," Limpag told abs-cbnNEWS.com. "But, I read that he had a falling out with coach Weiss and the Azkals in Germany. If that's true, then that follows a pattern, where he vents venom, unsubstantiated, on guys who went against him. It happened with me, CebuFA, Graeme Mackinnon, Don Bosco Cebu."

"When the (rape) report aired earlier, a former football (official) told me, 'So there are still people who believe Paul?'" he said.

Craig Burrows, manager of the Philippine Street Child World Cup Team, also shared a similar story regarding his experience with Weiler.

Burrows, who is known online for his comprehensive livetweets during the Azkals' away games, said he had to threaten Weiler with a lawsuit in the past.

"He is a menace," he said.

"When it comes to these rumors about the Azkals, I am totally ignorant but if Paul is spreading this, the source is heavily tainted," Burrows added. - with a report from Camille Naredo, abs-cbnNEWS.com