Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Fair Play: Is it time for Matt to rejoin Sparks?

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on April 5)
A FEW days ago, while promoting my "creative story" on Cedelf Tupas being named the new Global FC coach, I came about Matt Hartmann's apology published on Rick Olivares's blog. And since I was promoting an April 1 story, I thought, I'd tackle it on another day.

Like Rick's, nothing has changed from my stand. I still think the punishment was too harsh and I think now that Hartmann has issued his apology, it's time to let this young man rejoin his club in the UFL.

Yes, what the former U23 captain did was pretty harsh, leaving the national team in the middle of the campaign but his being banned from the national team, indefinitely, is punishment enough.

Barring him from club football, indefinitely too, is taking it too far.

I guess, this is one instance when the weird footie setup in the country went against Hartmann. Some can't understand how the PFF assumed it has the right to bar Matt from the UFL, but for years, this has been the case, where the PFF is the god when it comes to Philippine football.  Anything about it is under its jurisdiction.

I remember in another club competition about eight years ago, one striker punched the referee in one game in a Mindanao competition and got a three-year, nationwide ban for his efforts.

That guy even made the Azkals roster of the 2010 Suzuki Cup.

As for the Hartmann issue, while I expected a stiff ban, I didn’t expect the ban to extend to the UFL.  I think, if they want to, the UFL, Loyola and Hartmann could contest that penalty but it would be a pissing contest that I think, wouldn’t be good for the sport.

The UFL and the PFF are still figuring out their partnership as the club system is slowly taking shape but while I think facing off now is not the good thing, I think both entities’ roles have to be defined clearly because the Hartmann issue wouldn’t be the first.

Say, would penalties incurred by players in PFF club competitions like the Smart tournament be carried over to the UFL? 

By the way, it’s been almost four months since the decision was handed down, I hope the PFF Appeals Committee can decide on the matter. 

The national team ban, I think, should stay. Matt’s ban on club competition should have been lifted months ago. 

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