PFF blames lapse on clerical error

A "CLERICAL error" rendered the weeks of tough and hard training by the Philippine Women's Under 19 team, formed to represent the country in the Asian Football Confederation U 19 championships in Thailand this March.

The Philippine Football Federation missed the Aug. 31, 2005 deadline of submission of entries and had its final appeal denied by the AFC just yesterday.

According to a chronology of events leading to the fiasco sent by AFC Women's Committee deputy chair, Cristy Ramos-Jalasco to Sun.Star, the women's team was formed in September 2005, or days after the deadline passed and were still undergoing training until yesterday. The PFF sent their entry form last Jan. 3, which was promptly rejected by the AFC as it was passed the deadline.

The report also said that the PFF got the first invitation last Feb. 28 and another letter asking to confirm their participation on Aug. 12. Both invitations indicated the Aug. 31 deadline.

PFF president Johnny Romualdez told national papers that "it was a mistake by one of our staff. An apology has been made and we are still trying to join by contacting the highest levels at AFC."

In an interview yesterday, Domeka Geramindi, PFF general-secretary told Sun.Star, "I have nothing more to add, I think our president (Johnny Romualdez) has said everything." Asked to confirm it the PFF sticks to the "clerical error" reason, Geramindi said, "Yes, because that's what really happened."

Geramindi also said they were currently evaluating what to do with the team and will know by Friday what to do with girls, He also said he just got the fax from AFC rejecting their appeal to join the event and was set to inform the players after yesterday's training.

For her part, Ramos said the one responsible for the mistake must be punished. "Heads must roll. It (AFC U19) is a major tournament, it serves as the Asia qualifier for the Fifa Word U20," the former first daughter told Sun.Star.

Ramos also said that she checked the PFF secretariat if there was a letter of intent or entry form submitted to AFC before the Aug. 31 deadline and said, "No document was found, no official entry form. Regardless if it is a clerical (error) it is still the responsibility of the PFF."

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