IN 2006, the Philippine Football Federation earmarked P8 million for local competitions.

And when it is a “local PFF” event, it means a national competition.

We haven’t had any in two years. Or is it now three?

I’m mentioning that because of the controversy regarding the Cebu Football Association’s Elite Team which will be sent to San Carlos City this summer.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

Who should spend for the team’s participation?

If it’s just an ordinary tournament, the FA and the players should split the bill, or barring that, they could find a sponsor. If it’s an ordinary and invitation-only tournament, the players and coach should foot the bill.

But is the San Carlos City event one?

Some of the parents of the members of Cebu’s elite team are crying foul since, according to them, they were told that they’d have to spend for their sons’ participation in San Carlos City, just two weeks before they were set to leave.

Based on the reports coming from the CFA, the San Carlos tournament is where the PFF is going to find talents for its youth teams, something it used to do in the now extinct national tournaments.

That’s where the P8 million comes in.

The PFF, by not holding any national tournament the past two years or so, has at least P16 million to spare out of its annual P40 million budget.

That could have been used to shoulder each team’s participation in the San Carlos event because that’s how they used to do things. A player, once he gets selected to a national tournament, only has to worry about playing and practice. Everything else is taken care of by the host.

That was then.

Now is the era of used-to-bes.

We used to have a national men’s open and women’s open.

We used to have a national Under-19, for men and women.

All those savings, where did they go?

The parents’ concern is valid. One said, and I hope he was just being melodramatic, they’d have to take out a loan so their son could play for CFA’s elite team in an event the PFF should have held.

That is just plain wrong and for P8 million reasons.

Why do you have to suffer, just because your son was deemed good enough to be part of the elite squad?

The parents said they were all too happy when their sons were selected. That happiness turned to something else when they were told they had to spend for it.

Should they?

Like I said. If it was just an ordinary tournament, they should spend for it.

But if the PFF is using it as a replacement for its failure to hold a national tournament, they should shoulder everything.

And I do mean everything.

And they have P8 million reasons to do so.

If you think the P8 million figure is just something I came up with, you’re wrong. It’s something I learned when I attended a PFF Board of Governors Meeting in 2005.

That time, I learned that when it comes to talking about how the PFF money is spent, the room becomes deathly quiet.

But when it comes to bragging about their non-accomplishments, you can’t stop the FA presidents from talking.

“Kapoy pangutana, libog kaayo sabton,” was how one FA president explained their reluctance to talk about all the moolah.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)