Sunday, November 10, 2019

Qatar Airways Sponsorship To Help Revive Philippines Football League

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Philippines was one of the soccer powerhouses before the hoops took over the nation. However, the attempts to revive the game in the country with the most active efforts coming from the Philippines Football Federation (PPF) chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.

The reigning President of PFF who is seeking a fresh mandate as the chief is looking to sustain the development of football in the country. Philippines has a long association with the sport that dates back to more than 100 years when Paulino Alcántara Riestra became the first Filipino player to play for a European club. 

Since then football teams started to form in the country with some of the oldest names including the Manila Sporting Club (1906), the Bohemian Sporting Club (1909), and the Sandow Athletic Club (1910). But over the years, the game lost its lustre and is overtaken by basketball.

PFF revival efforts could be soon getting a major boost as talks with Qatar Airways are underway to sponsor the Philippines Football League for the next three years. The financial details of the deal are yet not made public but Araneta believes that the sponsorship will provide enough funding to host junior-level tournaments in the league.

Interestingly, the news is coming around the period when PPF Congress event is to be held on November 28. During the event voting for the new PFF president will be held in which representatives from 32 provincial football associations will be participating. 

Araneta is already backed by representatives of 25 provincial football associations and expects that development of the PFF over the last eight years will be enough to earn him another term.

First elected in 2011, Araneta who is on his second term is happy to see Qatar Airways is there to support soccer in the country. He believes it is the performance of the team that gained recognition. He states, “I think they realized that although there are some things that are lacking, but overall football (in the country) has improved.”

Philippines national teams (men and women) has gained during the tenure of Araneta as the PPF president. The men’s national team qualified for AFC Asian Cup for the first time and reached its highest global ranking of 111. 

The women’s national team also made to the AFC Asian Cup. The popularity of the sport in the country is one the rise that is garnering interest from the global fan community. 

Most sportsbooks now list Philippines football odds which is a sign of increasing global interest in the country’s play. The grassroots programs of the PFF are considered to be a reason behind the improved and are praised by the AFC.

The PPF chief is optimistic that the Philippines Football League that had a difficult first couple of years will be benefited from the Qatar Airways sponsorship that will run for three years.

But the tough times are not yet over for the Philippines football as the Araneta’s running mate Ricky Yanson who is also the Negros Occidental Football Association president is in a company dispute with his other siblings including younger brother Leo Rey, who owns Ceres-Negros, Philippine’s top football club.

This makes it important that Araneta wins the election who was captured quoting, “I was thinking of not running anymore as I have served football for a long time.”

“But because of the circumstances right now, then I am forced to run again to protect football from infighting.”

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