In a three-paged letter sent to the association this week, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that FIFA – backed by the opinion of FIFA vice president Geoff Thompson – validated the election of Araneta to replace Mari Martinez.
“Based on the opinion (of Thompson), we consider that the motion to remove Martinez was accepted and that he has been replaced by Araneta as the new PFF president,” Valcke said in the letter.
Martinez was replaced as head of the association during the PFF national congress held last month.
Thompson based his opinion in the existing Article 13.5 of the PFF which states that “only the PFF Congress, by affirmative vote of two thirds of the entire voting membership may remove and replace the PFF president upon the recommendation of the majority of the board of governors.”
“I am satisfied that article 13.5 prevails,” said Thompson, also FIFA’s Chairman of the Association Committee.
“I am therefore in the opinion that the decision of the PFF congress to remove and replace the PFF president was taken according to PFF statutes.”
“According to the minutes of the meetings of the (PFF) Board of Governors held on 29 Sept as well as 29 Oct which resumed on 27 Nov, the Board of Governors did indeed adopt a motion to remove Martinez from office,” Thompson said in the letter.
Araneta was elated with the development.
“We sent all information and the video of the elections and what we did was in accordance to the rules they (FIFA) made an opinion on,” Araneta said.
Martinez was ousted reportedly due to a number of financial issues, including alleged transfer of funds to former PFF executive vice president Henry Tsai as well as other dubious transactions.
Araneta, who came from the Iloilo Football Association, will hold on to the PFF presidency until 26 Nov 2011 with Ismael Batiles Jr. as the executive vice president.
Martinez, who was elected in 2008 succeeding current PFF chairman emeritus Johnny Romualdez, can appeal his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, according to Araneta.
“He can appeal the case to the CAS but as far as FIFA is concerned, it’s a close matter,” said Araneta, whose first order of business is to recover the association’s budget deficit of about PHP2.8 million (USD63,000).
The new PFF leadership pledged to continue their full support to the national football team, which mesmerized the country this month with a semi-finals finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
The PFF, in fact, have lined up several international tournaments including the AFC Challenge Cup against Mongolia on 9 and 16 Feb, the World Cup qualifiers and also the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.
The Azkals’ recent success, which included a victory over defending champions Vietnam in the group stage, allowed the Philippine team to get media exposures and financial backings – specifically from sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan and Asia Brewery.
“I’m glad that more sponsors are coming in and we assured that the money will be used properly and be transparent with our governance,” Araneta said.
Araneta said they will revive a national tournament, which was last held in 2006 and 2007, will be held in late April with the Under-19 men’s and Under-16 women’s tournaments.
SOURCE: Manila Bulletin