Phil, James controversy hangs in airBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DURING the open forum portion of the recent United Football League (UFL) press conference, I expected one of the scribes to inquire about the latest Younghusband controversy.
The Philippine Football Federation had earlier dropped brothers Phil and James Younghusband from the Azkals team that competed in the four-nation Paulino Alcantara Cup which ended yesterday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Whether this situation is temporary or permanent, only time will tell. The PFF said they had scrapped the Younghusbands from the Azkals roster because they could not meet their demands which was described as “both economic and non-economic.”
The way I understand it, these demands were pre-conditions set by the Younghusbands for them to play in the international commitments of the PFF.
In last Friday’s presscon, hosted by television coveror AKTV, I thought I would finally get to find out exactly what the Younghusbands wanted from the PFF.
The Fil-British brothers have never struck me as the material type, and I, for one, have always written about them in glorious terms, praising them for their various football advocacies which they started long before Team Azkals was born. To this day, they continue these advocacies.
It was hard to reconcile my impression of the Younghusbands with the Younghusbands who were making what was perceived as outrageous demands.
But people change, and the Younghusbands are just humans. I have heard from sources that they have been under the tutelage of their manager Cathy Rivilla, who could have taught them the Gospel of Greed and changed their values.
They say she charges an appearance fee even for an invitation to a birthday party.
One of my colleagues also said that the “economics” being demanded from the PFF by the Younghusbands was most likely the idea of the manager.
“The figure being demanded is way above the amount being received by the rest of the Azkals,” my colleague said.
Last Friday, I waited and waited for someone to broach the subject but it seemed that everyone was just too shy. The non-economic issue, as elucidated by the Younghusbands themselves on national television, did not appear as a problem because UFL president Randy Roxas explained that the league always gave way to the schedule of the PFF.
The emcee was about to close the session, but I just had to ask for the mike. It was obvious nobody wanted to touch the Younghusband issue. Not Randy Roxas, who explained that the UFL only gave way to Fifa-sanctioned tournaments or the Younghusbands’ manager Cathy Rivilla, who begged off from discussing the sensitive issue of economics.
Only after I talked with Meralco Sparks chairman Al Panilio did I get a clear grasp of the situation.
“The PFF does not respect the commitments of the club players,” he said. “We have met with coach (Michael) Weiss too in making sure we align skeds, but to no avail. We asked them to sit down with us so we can plot a compromise.”
Al informed us that the Meralco Sparks are leaving for Singapore next week to compete in an international tournament.
He admitted he was disappointed with the PFF which is being subsidized by the MVP Sports Foundation, of which he is the president.
“I’m not happy with the way they are running the national team,” Al said.
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