Araneta seeks fresh mandate as PFF president
BACOLOD CITY—Looking to sustain the development of the sport in the country, Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is seeking a fresh mandate as Philippine Football Federation president next month.
Backed by representatives of 25 of the 32 provincial football associations, who will be voting at the PFF Congress on Nov. 28, Araneta hopes the football body’s performance over the last eight years will be enough to earn another term.
“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,” said Araneta, who is on his second term after he was first elected in 2011.
“I think they realized that although there are some things that are lacking, but overall football (in the country) has improved.”
Under Araneta, the men’s national team reached its highest ranking of 111 and qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for the first time. The women’s side also made the AFC Asian Cup, while the PFF was feted by the AFC for its grassroots programs in the past three years.
Araneta also made it a priority to form the Philippines Football League, which has a new sponsor in Qatar Airways.
The PFF chief said the deal with Qatar Airways will run for three years as the league gets fresh funding after a difficult first couple of years.
On top of these achievements, Araneta is also hoping to see through the completion of the national football training center in Carmona, Cavite.
Interestingly, Araneta announced his re-election bid in the hometown of Ricky Yanson, the Negros Occidental Football Association president, who had earlier declared that the current PFF chief will be his running mate.
But with Yanson and three other siblings embroiled in a company dispute with younger brother Leo Rey, who owns the country’s top football club, Ceres-Negros, Araneta said he had to run to maintain the unity among stakeholders of the sport.
“I was thinking of not running anymore as I have served football for a long time,” said Araneta, who is also part of the powerful Fifa Executive Council.
“But because of the circumstances right now, then I am forced to run again to protect football from infighting.”
Araneta stressed the importance of Ceres as a standard-bearer for club football in the country as well as the support of Leo Rey Yanson when Azkals matches are held in Bacolod City.
In fact, the club took an active role in hosting the joint Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifying match between the Philippines and China at Panaad Stadium.
“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 to continue moving forward,” Araneta said.”
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