PFF prexy seeking 3rd term to ‘protect’ football from infighting

BACOLOD CITY — The present president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is seeking a third consecutive term to protect the sports from infighting.

“I was thinking of not running anymore, but because of the circumstances right now, I am forced to run again to protect football from infighting,” Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Araneta, who hails from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, announced his reelection bid before 25 representatives of provincial football associations, who came to this city on Monday ahead of the World Cup qualifiers match of the Philippines against China at the Panaad Stadium on Tuesday night.

“I’m happy that they’re here to signify their support and maybe because of what we have done for football in the last few years. It’s really based on performance,” Araneta said.

A total of 32 officials and representatives are expected to vote during the PFF Congress on November 28.

Araneta, a member of the FIFA Executive Council, said he decided to seek reelection “for the sake of unity among the stakeholders of the sport in the country.”

“There’s been unity in the last eight years. We have achieved a united organization and that’s what’s important to us right now,” he added.

Araneta will be challenged by Negros Occidental Football Association president Ricardo “Ricky” Yanson Jr., who first announced his plan to run for PFF president.

Eyeing a third term, Araneta, who was first elected in 2011, is backed by Ricky’s younger brother, Leo Rey, owner of Ceres-Negros FC, the top club in the Philippines Football League (PFL).

The Yanson brothers are locked in an intra-corporate battle involving the Bacolod-based, family-owned Vallacar Transit Inc., the largest subsidiary of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies, the country’s biggest bus company.

Araneta added that while some things are lacking, Philippine football has improved overall under his watch.

For the first time, both the men and women national teams qualified for the AFC Asian Cup, and the PFF also received awards for its grassroots programs from Asian Football Confederation in the last three years.

Araneta also said the PFL has secured a three-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways that will start in the upcoming Copa Paulino Alcantara.

The PFF is also hoping to see through the completion of the national football training center in Carmona, Cavite, he added. Nanette Guadalquiver/PNA- northboundasia.com