CEBU CITY – Nine players and two coaches were slapped six-month suspensions and the two teams were disqualified after a free-for-all marred a youth football game between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC last Sunday.
In a three-page decision presented to the media on Wednesday afternoon by Cebu Football Association president Ricky Dakay, vice-president Enrico Navarro and investigation committee head Atty. Julius Entise, the board of directors voted to disqualify both SHS-AdC and Alcoy FC from the Aboitiz Cup Under-18 tournament.
Pictures of an adult spectator hitting the Alcoy FC goalkeeper that spread on social media sites drew national attention to the brawl. The photos can be viewed at Sun.Star Cebu's Facebook page.
“Team officials of both Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC lost control and miserably failed to prevent the players on the bench from entering the playing field of their respective players,” the decision read.
"Similarly, the players of both Ateneo de Cebu and Alcoy FC teams committed flagrant violation of and reckless disregard of the tournament ground rules. Participating in the brawl and failing to exercise restraint to prevent the brawl is a deplorable behavior and a glaring manifestation of unsportsmanlike conduct."
Coaches Hayato Ayabe of Ateneo de Cebu and Chris delos Santos of Alcoy FC were handed six-month suspensions for “miserably failing to meet the standards that were expected of them as coaches.”
“It is expected from coaches to develop not only the skills of the players but also to develop the attitude and values of the players to make them better persons of the society,” Entise said.
"Coaches must encourage their players to treat their opponents with due respect. Coaches must accept responsibility of the conduct of their players and discourage inappropriate behavior in training, competition and away from the sporting arena."
Five players from Alcoy and four from Ateneo de Cebu were also slapped six-month suspensions for their roles in the melee. A similar incident in 2006 during the Thirsty Cup led to two-year bans for those involved, but the players in this case were handed lesser penalties due to their minor status and potential.
Sanctions will also be imposed on the spectators that helped escalate the incident although these are to be announced at a later date, as the committee await the presentation of more evidence. Entise said the spectators are expected to be banned from the venue.
CFA also refused to comment on the issue involving a spectator, later identified as Enrico Mongaya, who is seen in published pictures striking Alcoy’s goalkeeper from behind with a hard object while the latter was scuffling with an Ateneo de Cebu player.
“We prefer not to comment on that matter because we understand that the Alcoy camp is contemplating on filing a lawsuit,” said Entise.
To ensure that the incident does not happen again, the CFA will be meeting with the football coaches to discuss with them the rules of the tournament and the game. They will also meet with the different tournament organizers and add more marshals to the venue. Currently, the CFA assigns five marshals per venue.
Dakay also expressed his disappointment and sadness with the incident but remained hopeful that something good will come out of this.
“This incident is disappointing, unfortunate and regrettable but we hope some redeeming values will come out of this. It is a glaring example of how we should not act. Cebu Governor Junjun Davide has agreed to mediate between all parties involved,” shared Dakay.
"I also hope Vice Governor Agnes Magpale will assist in the process. But before forgiveness can happen, those who erred have to apologize and correct the defect of their characters."