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    Legal hitch on pitch deal delays Rizal Stadium renovation

    Jun 18, 2012
    The pitch at Rizal Stadium, which hosted the recent friendly between the Azkals and Indonesia, is set to be turned from natural grass to an artificial pitch under a Fifa grant. Jerome Ascano

    A legal hitch on the memorandum of agreement between the Philippine Sports Commission and the football federation has delayed the upgrading of the Rizal Stadium pitch under a Fifa grant.

    PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia said he will need the approval of the Department of Justice before he can sign the memorandum of agreement granting the Philippine Football Federation the go-ahead to renovate the age-old stadium and take over its operations for the next 25 years.

    The DOJ approval is needed, Garcia explained, since the 25-year time frame of the deal would extend well past his term as PSC chairman. The PSC chairmanship is almost equal to the post of undersecretary and dependent on the President. Garcia was appointed head of the sports agency in 2010. 

    The 25-year lease, on the other hand, is a requirement of Fifa. 

    “Our commitment could go more than (my term),” said Garcia in a press briefing on Monday inside his office at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

    "If DoJ will issue a clearance, then we will sign.” 

    Garcia stressed that the PSC is not against the renovation work, funded by the world football body under its Fifa Goal 3 project. A major part of the work involves turning the pitch from natural grass to an antificial pitch.

    “We have no objections sa pag-convert ng pitch,” he said. “Ang sinisigurado lang natin ay kung nasa batas ba ito.”

    The delay in the Rizal Stadium's renovation has already prompted the PFF to pick Panaad Stadium in Bacolod as the potential venue for the Long Teng Cup, a four-nation tournament which the football body is bidding to host in October.

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    Once approved, renovation work at Rizal will take from 60 to 90 days, PFF officials said.

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    The pitch at Rizal Stadium, which hosted the recent friendly between the Azkals and Indonesia, is set to be turned from natural grass to an artificial pitch under a Fifa grant. Jerome Ascano
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