Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fair Play: Tickets for friendly, not fan-friendly?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Oct. 13.)

THERE was a glaring absence in the Philippines 4-0 win over Nepal the other night at the Rizal Memorial Sports Stadium, an absence that was so obvious on TV.

A swathe of empty seats and even one whole empty section.

From the jam-packed crowd in the World Cup qualifiers against Sri Lanka and Kuwait, the crowd was thinner last Tuesday night, and it was a pity because the Azkals put on quite a show, thrashing Nepal, 4-0.

Curiously, Nepal is ranked one rung higher than Singapore, which beat the Azkals, 2-0, just last Friday. I tell you, the day I will understand the formula of the Fifa rankings, I’m going to send my resume to Nasa.

But, back to the crowd.

Did the ticket prices—P300, P500, P1,000, P1,500, P2,000 and P3,000—turn them off?
Prices for a friendly that were curiously slightly more expensive than the ones for the World Cup qualifiers?

Or is it because unlike Singapore, Nepal was an unknown entity despite its being ranked higher than the Lions?

If it was because of the tickets, I hope in the five friendlies the PFF is planning for next year—against clubs like Fulham—the prices will be a bit friendlier.

Even better, they could even give out a whole section for free, say, 1,000 of the 13,000 seats in Rizal?
That wouldn’t be too bad wouldn’t it?

Or, the PFF could give those VIP seats to fans who can present their tickets in the home games against Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Kuwait and Nepal? It would be a nice reward for these fans who trooped to all the home matches last year, right? 

But, that’s just me.

WELCOME HOME, COACH GRAEME.  During one of our many talks when he “returned home” from Australia, coach Graeme Mackinnon always said that he never really liked Manila because of the traffic, the crowd, etc.
When he was based in Cebu and whenever he had to attend an affair in Manila, he always booked the first flight to the Big City and the last flight back to Cebu so he won’t have to spend the night in Manila.

Now, he’s going to spend quite a lot of time in Manila, now that he’s going to be the new Global FC coach in the UFL.

And did I say that’s Graeme’s first job after retirement in Australia?
Welcome home, Coach Graeme and good luck in your UFL career.

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