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FIFA gives high mark but hurls challenge to PFF

FIFA senior development manager Mike Pfister said the PFF has done a lot in terms of governance and the challenge now for the federation is how to sustain the momentum on the popularity of football in the country and the establishment of a nationwide league.

CEBU, Philippines - The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has given the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) a high mark of eight in a scale of 10 being the highest.

FIFA senior development manager Mike Pfister clarified that the rating is mainly on PFF's governance.

 "What people mostly underestimate is the complexity of football. It's not what only happens in the pitch,but also off the pitch,' said Pfister in an interview at Shangri-la's Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday.

"FIFA in 2012 did a strategic review of the PFF, to give some concrete steps, actions to follow in a couple of years and actually a lot of those things recommended were implemented," said Pfister.

In details, Pfister said a lot has been done with governance and the technical structure in place. The performance of the national team has also improved as against how it was five years ago.

"You have to look at where it came from. Look at it five years ago, I think you've (PFF) gone very, very far," added Pfister.

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The challenge now for PFF, said Pfister, is how to sustain the momentum of popularity of football in the country and the establishment of a nationwide league.

"We know football is not the no.1 sports in the Philippines. It's not being no.1, no.2 or pushing other sports out, but its just raising the sporting culture within the culture," Pfister said.

To make it more popular at the same time have more potential players for the national team, PFF needs to put up a regular league not only for a few clubs that concentrated in Manila, but for all provinces and regions.

"The league has to be played all over the country and regularly. Around eight to nine months. The Philippines is not there yet," said Pfister.

In doing so, FIFA will assist PFF in coming up with an elaborate strategic plans covering all areas as well as provide technical assistance and in looking for ways for all regions to cooperate.

There is no shortcut to developing football, it takes a lot of hardwork that PFF needs to push further.

"Football, at the end of the day, is not developed on an ivory tower of a federation, but it is developed in the provinces, in the regions," said Pfister.— (FREEMAN)

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