Friday, February 03, 2012

Fair Play: Cebu football hits a new low

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Feb. 4)
THE Cebu Football Association has banned Paref-Springdale for three years for the withdrawal of its teams from the Aboitiz Cup, and along with the ban in Cebu football, comes, of course, a ban in Philippine football.

Though it stemmed from Springdale’s withdrawal from the Aboitiz Cup, that’s not really the cause of all this.  It’s far from it.

This is just the latest twist of Ricky Dakay’s and Raffy Musni’s falling out with Eleazar Toledo, Richard Montayre and the rest of the CFA board all those years ago.

Ricky and Raffy are members of the Cebu Amateur Football Club, which also supports Springdale and the four, together with Manfred Schuwerk, were elected to the CFA board back in March 2008. Raffy, Ricky and Manfred have since resigned, and Manfred’s team, too, got a ban for walking out of the Aboitiz Cup back in 2009.

It’s the CAFC vs. the CFA again.

Springdale submitted its letter of withdrawal on Sunday, the CFA had its decision on a Wednesday.

Is this a simple case of a football team getting forfeited in a match and withdrawing from said tournament as a reaction? No. When it comes to Cebu football, especially in matters involving the CAFC and the CFA, nothing is as simple as it is.

If what Springdale said was true, that its players were already at the gate of the Aboitiz Sports Field, paying for the entrance fee when they were declared default, then that shows the Aboitiz Cup officials were only looking for a reason, nay, they were waiting to have that reason to punish a team for joining a rival tournament.

It is what it is.

Eugene Ynclino said they went by the book and I can’t blame him. In instances like this, you go by the book, the book being the PFF Catalogue of Punishments.

I lost my copy of the catalogue but I seem to remember the penalty for withdrawing to be very stiff and I think there was even a provision that by walking out from a tournament, the team has lost its right to appeal.

But if you want to be this strict, shouldn’t you have been this strict all this time? And being strict is not what the CFA is known for. Just ask the coaches.

I’ve heard that Springdale is consulting lawyers for the matter, but I hope it won’t come to that as going to court to settle matters in sports is frowned upon.

The CFA may have the law in its hands but I think they just went too far with this three-year ban on Springdale’s players.

Punishing kids? For obeying what their coaches, officials tell them? What does that tell you?

They should have spared the kids who know nothing and are not even a party to, to Cebu football politics.  If they wanted to, they could have stuck the ban to Coach Mario Ceniza and the men and women behind the decision to withdraw from the Aboitiz Cup.  But not the kids, who are going to miss a lot if they are banned for three years.

All of this, of course, will make the CFA elections next month a very interesting affair.

The current board’s term will end next month and based on initial talks I’ve had with the board (it happened when I wrote about this conflict, too), the sitting board members have lost interest in running as it seems being a CFA board member is hazardous to your health.

Will this issue be resolved before the election?

Or will this issue determine who wins the election?

These are interesting times for Cebu football.

But you know what? Cebu football would have been more interesting without this.


Anonymous said...

First of all, rules were violated. I think Mario Ceniza has to take the blame for this one. I respect the guy but this was his mistake. The penalty may be harsh but I think it's about time that rules are adhered to. I hope the CFA board can show some lenience by shortening the ban to 1 year.

Anonymous said...

I was there at the Aboitiz field that day. I believe the decision of the officials to declare a default was valid. If Sprindale withdrew then they should be aware of the sanctions. Yes, a three year ban is harsh (is it the prescribed punishment by CFA or PFF guidelines?). But the blame falls on Mario Ceniza and other school officials who got the team into this kind of trouble. If the CFA is now strict then it's about time. I hope it continues to be strict as long as it treats all teams the same.