Villaflor: The price of peace and goodwill-A A +A
Friday, September 21, 2012
FOUR days before the Philippine International Peace Cup kicks off, there are still those who can’t get over the tournament’s change of name and venue.
That’s for good reason, because there seemed something off-kilter in what happened to what was initially called the Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup. Alcantara, in case you haven’t heard, is the Philippine-born FC Barcelona legend.
The official reason stated for the renaming was that tournaments named after individuals cannot be held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, according to the rules of the Philippine Sports Commission, which operates the venue.
Of course this also didn’t hide the more disappointing fact that the tournament was suddenly transferred from the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City to Manila due to logistical reasons. Just imagine the distress of those who have made plans for Bacolod and actually booked flights.
As a goodwill measure, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has reportedly offered free Peace Cup match tickets to those who booked flights to Bacolod.
Now, caught in a similar situation are several Azkals fans who already booked flights for the friendly match between the Philippines and Singapore in Cebu City. Due to some miscommunication, the friendly was initially set on Nov. 16, but it was moved a day earlier to Nov. 15. The change of schedule caused a few problems for the organizers and, of course, the fans.
Take the case of a Davao City resident who posted an online comment on my Aug. 29 column that he and his companions already booked flights for Nov. 16. “We’re almost 10 football fanatics from Davao (who booked Nov. 16 flights),” he said, hoping that the initial date would be kept.
That wasn’t to be. The PFF stuck to its calendared date, Nov. 15, prompting the Azkals management and the Cebu Football Association to abide.
And so the Nov. 15 date is final. The newly renovated Cebu City Sports Center football field as venue is also final.
As to other good news, the tickets would be reasonably priced, with rates ranging from P200 to P2,000, for the VIP sections. (For more info, check Sun.Star Sports Reporter Cheska D. Geli’s story on A28).
But then the question is this: would Azkals fans, like our friends from Davao, who booked Nov. 16 flights to Cebu City also get free tickets to the Philippine vs. Singapore friendly as an act of goodwill?
If fans who booked flights to Bacolod would be getting free Peace Cup tickets, then those who erroneously booked Nov. 16 flights to Cebu City similarly should also receive goodwill tickets.
There’s just one tricky question, though: who will shoulder the goodwill tickets for the Azkals vs. Singapore friendly – the PFF or the local organizers?
Either way, the 10 Azkals fanatics from Davao City, as well as others caught in a similar situation, deserve those free tickets for their troubles.
Now it’s been both a messy and exciting year so far for Philippine football, but we do hope that there wouldn’t be a repeat of sophomoric organizing mistakes such as the Bacolod and Cebu City scheduling fiascos, and the Peace Cup renaming “controversy.”
Still, there are good things that could come out of these gaffes, particularly on the Paulino Alcantara renaming issue that just wouldn’t die.
Here’s one: because the Catalan legend’s name has been shelved, it can still be used for a much bigger international tournament, a “Paulino Alcantara Tournament” that’s something bigger, and therefore, more fitting.
In the meantime, let’s just refer to next week’s tourney as the Peace Cup and move on. Peace.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 22, 2012.