P32M penalty in 2022 haunts new PFF admin

WE WILL COMPLY. Philippine Football Federation president John Guttierez said the federation is on top of the problem and will comply with the CAS ruling. /
WE WILL COMPLY. Philippine Football Federation president John Guttierez said the federation is on top of the problem and will comply with the CAS ruling. / CONTRIBUTED

THE current Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is dealing with a ruling by the Committee on the Arbitration of Sports confirming a decision by the Fifa Players Status Chamber (PSC) ordering the PFF to pay a former assistant coach $584,928 in back wages and penalties for breach of contract.

The Fifa PSC came out on May 17, 2022 and the PFF filed an appeal with CAS on July 10, 2022 but in a 31-page decision, CAS sole arbitrator Mark A. Hovell, after a hearing on Feb. 23, 2023, confirmed the Fifa PSC\'s decision ordering the PFF to pay Ramadani Herzidan $96,928 or P5.3 million at the exchange rate of that time for backwages and a further $488,000 or P26.8 million as compensation for breach of contract.

PFF president John Guttierez, who assumed office in November 2023 and replaced Mariano Araneta, confirmed that the PFF indeed received the CAS order.

“The current administration is aware of this and we are dealing with this,” Guttierez said in a phone interview with SunStar Cebu.

The CAS decision, which is available online, was never publicized. SunStar Cebu only stumbled on the decision while researching online for a different case in CAS involving the Philippines.

Based on a summary included in the CAS ruling, Herzirdan was first hired by the PFF as an assistant to Scott Cooper on a $4,000 per month contract in June 15, 2018. On Dec. 5, 2018, he signed another contract, this time with the PFF and The Futbol Pilipinas Azkals Foundation INC to be the assistant coach of the senior, U22 and U23 teams for a monthly pay of $6,000.

The deal was to last from Feb. 1, 2019 until Dec. 21, 2022.

However, Herzirdan experienced delays in his salaries starting November 2019 and after a series of negotiations with the senior team management that left him unsatisfied, he filed a claim against the PFF at the Fifa PSC for his unpaid salary then valued at $97,605. He filed an additional claim for $488,000 for the residual value of a contract that was supposed to last from Dec. 1, 2021 until Dec. 31, 2026.

Fifa PSC ruled on his favor, a decision confirmed by CAS.

Sought for comment, Dan Palami, the former manager of the national team said in a message, “Hi Mike, will consult lawyers involved as there are NDAs involved. But I think the letters sent by my lawyers in Belgium and Switzerland will give you an idea.”

Meanwhile, Guttierez said they are complying with the CAS ruling but declined to expound when asked where the PFF got the money to pay Herzidan P32 million as ordered by Fifa.

However, he admitted that PFF operations are affected by the ruling.

“This is a problem and for every problem, there are consequences, the federation is dealing with the consequences,” he said.

When asked if the decision would affect the PFF’s prospect in hiring new coaches for the men’s team Guttierez said, “It may affect other matters within the federation. Rest assured the new admin is on top of this, we are trying our best to solve this certain matter. This is a ruling that we must abide with.” / ML


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