The Philippines failed to secure the contract with a host stadium, forcing the country to relinquish hosting duties of the biennial AFF Suzuki Cup.
Bad news for Philippines Azkals fans: the country will no longer host the group stage of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.
In a statement released by the Asean Football Federation, the Philippines was forced to withdraw its bid to host the biennial regional football event due to contractual problems.
“The AFF would like to clarify that despite the PFF’s best efforts, the PFF were unable to deliver the contract with the stadium which was to host the prestigious tournament. The PFF were given two extensions to try and negotiate with the stadium to secure the contract,” said the statement.
“Without the contract, the PFF had no option but to withdraw as hosts. The contract between the host Football Association and the stadium is one of the main criteria that is stipulated in the Hosting Obligations.”
The stadium in question is the 20,000 seater Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, where the Philippines Azkals and the United Football League’s Global FC have hosted World Cup qualifiers and AFC Cup matches, respectively, in 2015.
Additionally, tournament rights holder Lagadere Sports (formerly World Sports Group) has rejected the use of the 12,000-capacity Rizal Memorial Stadium – the traditional home of the Azkals – to host the group stage matches of the AFF Suzuki Cup, according to InterAksyon.
Lagadere Sports has reiterated that venues for the group stage must at least seat 30,000 people.
This will be the second time that the Philippines would be denied hosting games on its home soil. In the Azkals’ Cinderella run in 2010, the team failed to host one of the home-and-away AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final leg games against Indonesia due to the inadequacy of the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The AFF Council will decide on the Philippines’ replacement at its next meeting on March 12, 2016 in Da Nang, Vietnam.