What does the Philippine Football Federation intend to do with the P268-million budget for 2021 approved by the 17th PFF National Congress during its online meeting over the weekend?
There's a lot on the list, according to PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr., who presided over the virtual session attended by the PFF’s 33 regular member associations and the representatives of Kaya-Iloilo and Stallion-Laguna.
Both commercial clubs are also regarded as regular members based on the present statutes of the International Football Federation (FIFA), the sport’s world governing body.
“We are looking forward to the year 2021 when the PFF will have its historic and biggest budget yet. This however comes with plenty of responsibilities as we have to comply with the requirements set forth by both FIFA and AFC,” Araneta told congress participants in his opening speech.
“The momentum is definitely on our side. May we never lose sight of putting the good of football in every activity that we undertake.”
Araneta, who became PFF president in 2010 and is a member of the FIFA Executive Council, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the big plans the federation had for the year “so we had a carryover from our 2020 budget” in explaining the huge allotment for next year.
On top of the regular annual subsidies that the PFF gets from FIFA, the AFC and ASEAN Football Federation, the federation also received in 2020 of $1 million from FIFA’s COVID-19 relief fund, and an additional $500,000 for women development.
Beginning in 2019, FIFA raised its annual subsidy under its “forward development program to all 211 member associations at $1.5 million each for four years plus another $1 million to those whose revenues are $4 million or less per year.
“Majority of these funds will be geared towards football development,” the PFF honcho stressed, adding that the sport’s national governing body had already paid P20 million as downpayment for the 4,000 square-meter property in Carmona town, Cavite where the new PFF headquarters will be built starting next year.
“The PFF building will close to our national training center field within the San Lazaro Leisure Park.”
He said that P28 million was also set aside for women’s football development while he was also hoping age-group programs, such as the under-15 and under-13 competitions, get going “once we get permission from the IATF.”
He was referring to the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of the domestic virus crisis, which has the final say on all both pro and amateur sports-related activities.
The PFF said it intended to go full blast reviving futsal (indoor football) in the Philippines, tapping noted Dutch futsal instructor and coach Martin Hermans, the first FIFA-accredited trainer in 1990, to oversee the program in the second quarter of 2021, Araneta said.
With the hopes of a vaccine in sight next year, he was also banking on the regular resumption of the Philippines Football League in May after the pandemic reduced the league to a compact, single-round 6-team tournament.
With the core led by Azkal team skipper Stephan Schrock from Ceres-Negros FC back in harness, United City FC ruled the abbreviated competition last month with four wins and one loss, earning a slot to the AFC Champions League, Asia’s premier club event.
Araneta said the success of the shortened PFL season was one of the federation’s few bright spots in an otherwise bleak football landscape in 2020, besides the staging of the national under-15 tournament won by the National Capital Region in February.
“As I told the PFF members expect next year, especially the last two quarters, to be cramped with activities,” he said, citing the resumption of the joint World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers on top of the Suzuki Cup as something that the PFF was gearing for.
Besides international commitments, the PFF was also gearing up for the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games in November 2021, where it also expects to field competitive sides in both men’s and women’s football tournaments.
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