By KY, JVP, GMA News
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said they will wait for the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) report regarding the structural integrity of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex before deciding whether to use the historic venue for the Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka on July 3.
“We have all decided to wait for the DPWH to come up with their evaluation regarding the structural integrity of the venue. If the DPWH gives their approval, there is a strong chance that the Azkals’ home game will be held at RMSC,” said PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta after their meeting with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) officials.
Sri Lanka will host the first game on June 29, while the Azkals will play the second leg of its World Cup Asian qualifying round at home on July 3. The winner of the home-and-away series will advance to play Kuwait.
There are still unconfirmed reports that cracks were found at the grandstand bleachers that could endanger the Azkals’ legion of fans,who would want to watch and cheer for them when they face Sri Lanka.
The PFF wants to hold the Azkals’ home game at RMSC, which can accommodate 15,000 to 20,000 fans. The last big football event the RMSC hosted was the 1991 Manila Southeast Asian Games finals between Indonesia and Thailand.
“We have to determine the structural integrity of the venue because in 1995, the DPWH came up with a recommendation that the RMSC should undergo major repairs after the strong 1990 earthquake. We know former PSC chairman Harry Angping has made renovations, but we need to still get the DPWH’s opinion to ensure the safety of the people,” added Araneta.
The DPWH inspection is expected to be made within this week, with the report to be finished by April 14 or a day before the PFF deadline of naming the Azkals’ home game venue for the opening round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City is being eyed as an alternative venue for the Philippine national team’s home game. Panaad was where the Azkals played their first home game against Mongolia on February 9 in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup. Source