Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fair Play: Pray the PFF keeps ban in Cebu only

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 20 issue)
SO the sanctions are out on the players and coaches involved in the brawl, but not yet on the spectators who joined the fracas. Any sports association doesn’t have any hold on a member of the audience and the heaviest penalty it can give is a ban from watching future tournaments.

And because of the set-up of football in the country, with the CFA as the PFF representative in Cebu, the sanctions will be forwarded to the national body and there is where those who face a six-month ban must be concerned.

The PFF can, and in the past it has, extended a province-wide ban, nationwide. A ban from football-related activities, meaning those who are incoming college freshmen may even be barred from joining the UAAP or NCAA in June should the PFF expand it nationwide.

And that hurts and I hope it doesn’t come to that. Keep it in Cebu.  

But what I’m really interested in is the coming sanctions for the spectators from SHS-Ateneo and Alcoy.

The PFF can and should extend the ban nationwide, keep them away from all football-related activities as a lesson for all. No one should let rage overcome reason in any sport.

There are talks of mediation but this is to help heal the wounds of the Cebu football community; charges that will be or might be filed against the parent is beyond the call of the FA and that’s for him to answer.

It was a fight between two teams, but the way some people are reacting, it’s as if it’s between the rich and the poor, which shouldn’t be. Remember, it’s the Cebu Football Association, not the Cebu City FA or the Cebu City Exclusive Schools FA.

The CFA needs teams from Alcoy and those from neighboring towns if it truly wants to spread the sport all over Cebu.

One of the parents whose son was involved said that during the game, they were even talking of how they can help Alcoy with equipment and training since the disparity in skills was obvious, just as the fact that Alcoy traveled hours to join a tournament shows it was really interested in football. That was before everything went south.

I think pursuing that angle, the CFA or even Ateneo boosting Alcoy football, would be a great start in reconciliation. Of course, legal charges—should they proceed—are between the concerned parties. That’s no longer the concern of the CFA, which must try to put the focus back on the game.

The Cebu football community bears the bruises of that incident; it’s time to pick up the pieces.

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