Promising improvements and more support from private companies for the sport, Mariano “Nonong” Araneta was re-elected as president of the Philippine Football Federation yesterday during the 16th PFF Congress at Century Park Hotel in Manila.
A member of the FIFA Executive Council, Araneta, who ran unopposed in 2011 and 2015, prevailed over Negros Occidental Football Association president Ricky Yanson, 23-12.
Araneta immediately extended his hand in reconciliation to Yanson after a challenging campaign.
“Rest assured, we will do better and we will move on as one,” said Araneta. “I enjoin everyone to unite for the good of Philippine football. I am extending my hand to my opponent so we can bring football further.”
Araneta got solid support from the Mindanao bloc, led by his running mate M’lang Cotabato mayor Joselito Piñol, who was also re-elected as Vice President.
Also boosting Araneta’s candidacy was the entry of three Philippines Football League clubs Ceres Negros FC, Kaya Iloilo and Stallion Laguna, which were able to secure voting rights after their membership to the PFF was approved earlier during the PFF Congress.
Araneta said his four-year plan for the federation will include more infrastructure with the impending completion of the National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Qatar Airways, upon Araneta’s request, had agreed to a three-year deal as title sponsor of the PFL starting next year.
Yanson had criticized the PFF for a lack of age-group tournaments, something Araneta addressed by announcing more support for competitions from private sponsors. Among those who have already promised their backing to youth football are Vallacar Transit Inc. and Giligans.
Araneta sees the Qatar Airways deal as a game-changer that will once again revitalize the country’s professional league.
“All the money we usually spend for the league will now be plowed back to the development of the youth,” said Araneta.
Meanwhile, Yanson, in a statement posted on social media, acknowledged Araneta’s victory and “sincerely wish him well as the new president of the Philippine Football Federation.”
“I would like to thank my wife, my daughter, my family, my campaign team and all of my supporters for their unwavering dedication to our cause. Not once did they give up,” Yanson said.
“I will continue to help Philippine Football through the `Football Para Sa Lahat’ advocacy. I will continue the programs we've begun in Negros Occidental and will wholeheartedly partner with PFF in endeavors just like NOFA has done in the past.
“Life goes on. Nothing will change my love for the beautiful game,” Yanson added.*
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