AN increase in the number football-related activities is expected as the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Football Federation forged a memorandum of agreement for the installation of an artificial playing surface and a renovation of the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia and PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta finally signed the 25-year agreement at the PSC offices on Thursday.
“This will be a 365-days-a-year football field which will be a big advantage for football because this will be an all-weather field,” said Garcia in a press briefing. “You can play at least three full games in one day without thinking of the quality of the field.
“We lack the facilities in Metro Manila and with this MOA signing, even other leagues like the UAAP, NCAA and the UFL will benefit… there would be no postponement of games. The field will be playable anytime,” said Araneta.
Facilities like locker rooms and shower rooms will also be renovated as part of the agreement. The seating capacity will be increased to at least 25,000.
The renovation, which will cost P25 million and funded by world football body Fifa’s Goal project, is scheduled to begin next month. Once completed, the Philippines will have a stadium that can host a Fifa-sanctioned tournament including the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.
The development will prevent a repeat of 2010 when the Azkals were forced to play a ‘home’ match in Jakarta against Indonesia due to the absence of a suitable venue.
Under the renovation plan, the field dimensions will be increased which means that two lanes of the track oval will have to be torn down.
“The six lanes will still be used for cross training of athletes,” said Garcia.