Fair Play: CFA gives players 24 hours to talk

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's June 17 edition)
AT this time after the semifinals of the Aboitiz Cup men's open, teams involved in the finals and the battle-for-third should only be preparing for their games.

But because of what happened in the Leylam vs. Don Bosco United match, four players will have to rack their brains how to explain their involvement in the unfortunate incident.

Only two people got involved—Bong Aller of Don Bosco and Madi Nji of Leylam in the mini-boxing showdown that was stopped both by officials and teammates. The two have 24 hours to explain to the CFA what happened, while Leylam coach Oliver Colina also has to write a letter on his "unsportsmanlike way he complained to officials."

Alex Buanghog probably has the most unique case of all. He has to explain why he told those who were trying to break the players, "Pasagdi na pasumbagaya para matagbaw." I can probably understand where he's coming from but the CFA isn't taking it lightly. Not now.

Why? Because this is the Aboitiz Cup, the same tournament that got national--and international--attention last year because of an off-field incident. The sponsor's name--the Aboitiz--one of the oldest families in Cebu is attached to it and I think those involved in the corporate communications of the Aboitiz Foundation had a collective face-palm when they saw the pictures of those two guys fighting.

It happened. We can't turn back the clock and stop it from happening and the best option now is to deal with the consequences promptly and rapidly. One that would make the men behind the Aboitiz Cup say, OK, let's sponsor this tournament for another year.

Let's face it. Without the Aboitiz Cup, football is nothing in Cebu and that's why the officials are making sure no stones are left unturned in this one.

Yes, heated moments are normal but fighting isn't and as the premier tournament in Cebu, the Aboitiz Cup has to set an example. And of course, there’s that matter of having one of the prestigious family names in the country associated with the tournament.

To be frank, I think it’s unfortunate that Leylam got involved since knowing the owners and officials, they try to set the standard in discipline and fair play in club football here. But I guess, this is part of their learning process.

The players received their letters yesterday. Now, they must pray that their replies would be satisfactory.


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