Smart offers P80 million for Philippine football

RUNNING’s loss is Philippine football’s huge gain.

Smart sports marketing and special projects head Patrick Gregorio said Smart may not be able to offer the same financial support to running this year as they had last year because the company will increase its funding for Philippine football.

The increase? P80 million.

“This is the commitment of Smart for Philippine football. Our chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan, is really excited to support the sport,” Gregorio told Sun.Star Cebu after his presentation of the Smart football program during the Philippine Football Federation Board of Governors Meeting at Sarrosa Hotel yesterday.

The P80-million, 10-year program is geared toward two fronts—support for the national men’s team and the establishment of a Filipino Premier League.

Smart, which is also actively involved in the PBA, Asia’s first professional basketball league, wants to establish a league for locals and has identified four companies who are willing to sponsor teams—Smart, Meralco, Maynilad, Cignal TV-TV5.

Gregorio said whatever those companies will spend for their team is not included in the P80-million package.
“That’s just the minimum, so it can even go higher,” said Gregorio.

After returning from the group phase of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup last December, Pangilinan was the first to offer his support and gave P1 million for the team.

“That was just testing the waters,” Gregorio said. “Pag pumasok ang Smart, we really give our commitment.”
One of the teams could even be based in Cebu.

“We are looking at the possibility of a Smart football team in Cebu for the premier league,” said James Albert S. Bernas, the Wireless Community Solutions Department Head.

The PFF, led by its president Mariano Araneta, and Pangilinan, are expected to announce the deal once everything is finalized in the next few days.

“We just hope that the PFF can fast-track the development of a football pitch,” said Gregorio.

Aside from running and football, Smart, which is planning to put up the MVP Sports Foundation to be named Goal Pilipinas, also backs basketball, boxing, taekwondo, arnis and tennis.

Their biggest sports program is Smart Gilas, which aims to snag a seat to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Smart’s move is the latest financial windfall to hit the PFF since the Azkals raised awareness for the sport.

Earlier, the football associations of Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan committed to give a total of $1.5 million when their FA presidents met Araneta during the Asian Football Confederation Congress.

Each of the three countries will give $100,000 annually over five years for the country and are also willing to host, for free, the training of the national teams.

Last Jan. 28, Fifa announced it will give out an extra $300,000 (P13.5 million) to all football associations as share of the profits from the 2010 Fifa World Cup. That is on top of the annual $250,000 grant and the $200,000 profit share of the World Cup released last year.


doreen said…
this is a good news!
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Arielle said…
Well, it's more fun to run with a ball at your feet any way. So I guess our runners will still enjoy running, playing the beautiful game. =)
cjeagle said…
Kuwait, Bahrain, and Jordan will commit a total of 100,000 combined each year for 5 years and not individually.

With all these support we should be able to send teams to all the FIFA santioned tournaments.

Hopefully we were able to submit our intention to join the AFC U-16 by Monday Jan.31, the extended deadline given by AFC to those countries who haven't sent their reply yet incl. the Philippines.

It seems that my campaign on establishing a truly national professional league as I outlined in the Filipino football website discussion, attracting corporate sponsorship is slowly becoming a reality kaligo.

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