Promising improvements and more support from private companies for the sport, Mariano “Nonong” Araneta was re-elected as president of the Philippine Football Federation last Friday 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 where the PFF president lamented the attack on his character and integrity.
“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.
“The toughest part of the campaign was the vicious attack on my character,” said Araneta. “But most of the members here believe in my ability.
“They trusted me and for another four-year term.”
Araneta said his four-year plan for the federation will include more infrastructure with the impending completion of the National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite.
Qatar Airways, upon Araneta’s request, has 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.”