THE Philippine Football Federation (PFF) welcomed the leeway the Asean Football Federation has given the country, which retained its right to host the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in November.
After finally securing a contract with the Philippine Sports Stadium, the PFF presented the 20,000-seat facility as the primary venue for one of the group stages to the AFF council, which made the approval despite the Bulacan arena falling below its requirement of at least 30,000 seats.
Myanmar is the host of the other group.
“They are giving us an exemption, because they see football is growing in the country,” PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes said on Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
The AFF disapproved the Rizal Memorial Stadium as the primary venue, but the 15,000-seater has been authorized as the secondary venue for trainings.
Gastanes sees no logistical problem despite the Suzuki Cup being held away from the metro in Bulacan.
And with the venue settled, the PFF has called on the fans for their support.
“We will leave no stone unturned in convincing fans to come,” Gastanes said ahead of the prestigious regional tournament that became a launching pad for the Azkals' rise to prominence.
The national team, which returns to action on March 24 in a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan in Tashkent, will know its Suzuki Cup opponents after the draw on August 2 in Myanmar.