Change in Suzuki Cup qualifying format may mean more home games for Azkals by 2016
PFF president Nonong Araneta says officials are inclined to adopt a home-and-away format even for the qualifying stages of the Suzuki Cup. Jerome Ascano

THE qualifying and final group stages of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup could undergo a change in format that will favor home teams and prolong the tournament starting in 2016.

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta bared the possibility of instituting a home-and-away format as early as the qualifiers and group stage from the usual one or two countries hosting the event.

The Philippines and Myanmar were earlier named as co-hosts of the next edition of the biennial meet.

“That can change,” Araneta said after a meeting with AFF officials. “Because we’ve seen that in the qualifiers, if the home team doesn’t play, there’s no crowd.  It’s not good for the sponsors.

“So at least if it’s home and away, there’s a support for the home team.”

Thailand and Singapore hosted this year’s competition, which saw a handful of matches played before few crowds when away teams went up against each other.

The development could extend the month-long event by two to three months and could also mean more home games for all the participants, including the Philippines, which is automatically seeded into the group stage for consistently making the semifinals the last three years.

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