By Bong Pedralvez
Despite the prolonged heavy rains over the weekend, the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium pitch remains much in fine shape, according to the local coordinator of the Asian World Cup qualifying series second leg between the Philippines and Sri Lanka set on July 3.
“The pitch remains firm, not muddy or soiled and quite playable,” said Cathy Rivilla, who inspected the field early yesterday morning to find out its condition after the weekend downpour. “I’m quite impressed with the field’s drainage (system).
“In fact, if this keeps up then we can expect good playing conditions for the Philippine-Sri Lanka rematch,” added Rivilla, who has had extensive experience as a match commissioner of FIFA, AFC and AFF-sanctioned competitions.
Rivilla issued the assessment to allay fears the game between the Azkals and the Red Devils could turn out to be a muddy and waterlogged affair should there be heavy rains preceding and during the match itself.
“The only thing needed now is for the grass to be cut, but otherwise the field is okay,” she said.
Rivilla disclosed that after the PFF-funded repairs and renovations at the stadium, the facility now has a total seating capacity of 12,872 seats: 8,131 in the uncovered bleachers, 2,872 in the upper grandstand and 1,872 in the lower grandstand.
“FIFA regulations are very strict about the seating capacity where its matches are held, including the specific dimension on the length and width of the seats,” Rivilla said. “Definitely there will be no overcrowding on game day.” Malaya