This appears in the Monday December 27, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror.
FIFA rebuffs Martinez’ protest
by rick olivares
The Mari Martinez saga with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) refuses to die down.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), in a December 20 memorandum issued by its Secretary General Jerome Valcke, pronounced Mariano V. Araneta as the duly elected president of the PFF after a careful review of the documents furnished to football’s international governing body.
Martinez, angered by the statement, sought the help of Asian Football Confederation President Mohammad Bin-Hammam to contest the ruling to FIFA while threatening to bring the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). The CAS is an arbitration body based in Switzerland that is set up to settle disputes in the realm of sports.
Valcke’s memorandum superseded the one issued by his deputy Markus Kattner on December 3 where FIFA said that they would continue to recognize Martinez but called on a special Congress within 90 days to specifically take up his ouster. Kattner was acting on the information provided by Martinez.
Within days of Kattner’s memo, the new administration of the PFF as headed by Araneta, sent the complete documents including the video of the 7th PFF Ordinary Congress where Martinez was removed and replaced on November 27.
Hammam, who has been at the helm of the AFC since 2002, sent a letter to FIFA dated December 22 stating that FIFA’s ruling is a form of interference in the upcoming AFC elections this January where members will be elected to FIFA’s Executive Committee. Martinez is reportedly a Hammam supporter and his vote is deemed crucial to the Qatari’s spot in the Executive Committee.
The FIFA Executive Committee, next to the association president is the most powerful group in football as it is they who pass the laws that govern the sport.
Football insiders claim that the AFC is split with one block belong to Hammam and the other to Korean Dr. Chung Mong Joon.
This time, it took no less than FIFA president Joseph Blatter to reply to Hammam a day after the AFC president sent his letter.
“It is important to emphasize that FIFA as a world governing body of football has the duty to control every type of Association Football by taking the appropriate steps to prevent infringements of the Statutes, regulations, or decisions of FIFA,” wrote Blatter.
“Regarding the Congress held by the PFF on 27 November 2010, FIFA was informed about some possible irregularities regarding the replacement of the PFF President. In view of the fact that the situation was not clear whether the proposal of removing the President has been put properly on the agenda, FIFA was not in a position to acknowledge the change of presidency. This situation was outlined in FIFA’s letter dated 3 December 2010 to PFF.”
“However, once the facts were available to FIFA, the Chairman of the FIFA Association Committee was asked to give an opinion on the validity of the decision of the PFF Congress to remove and replace the president.”
“After a thorough analysis of the file in his possession, the Chairman of the FIFA Association Committee opined that the decision of the PFF Congress to remove and replace the PFF President was in accordance to the PFF statutes. This was communicated to the PFF with letter dated 20 December 2010.”
To further underscore FIFA’s decision and recognition of Araneta, the interim president’s name was officially placed in the association’s website on December 26, 2010.