San Lazaro Park Phl’s new foot­ball mecca

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS -

Manila Jockey Club, Inc., the coun­try’s premier horse rac­ing club and one of Asia’s old­est, hosted the in­au­gu­ra­tion and turnover cer­e­monies of the FIFA Foot­ball Turf Project at the San Lazaro Leisure and Busi­ness Park last Satur­day.

The project, for­mal­ized in April 2014, was made in part­ner­ship with the Philip­pine Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion.

In at­ten­dance were ex­ec­u­tives from the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion, Aseabn Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion, PFF board of gover­nors, Philip­pine Olympic Com­mit­tee, Manila Jockey Club and the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Car­mona rep­re­sented by Mayor Dahlia Loy­ola.

MJC chair­man and CEO, Atty. Al­fonso Reyno Jr., with FIFA coun­cil mem­ber and PFF pres­i­dent Mar­i­ano Araneta Jr. and PFF gen­eral sec­re­tary Ed­win Gas­tanes, led the of­fi­cial turnover cer­e­monies of the FIFA Foot­ball Turf, which will serve as the main pitch of the Na­tional Foot­ball Cen­ter, soon to be de­vel­oped at SLLBP.

“We thank the Manila Jockey Club for their sup­port in the cre­ation of this new foot­ball turf, and their mag­nif­i­cent gen­eros­ity in mak­ing the site avail­able to us. We hope that in the fu­ture, this cen­ter will be the place where we can train and de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of foot­ball play­ers, coaches, ref­er­ees and ad­min­is­tra­tors who will lift Philip­pine foot­ball to greater heights,” Araneta said.

The pitch was con­structed by ACT Global, a FIFA pre­ferred pro­ducer of ar­ti­fi­cial turf from the United States. It is 105 me­ters long and 68 me­ters wide, the rec­om­mended size of the in­ter­na­tional body for its top level and in­ter­na­tional matches, with a present seat­ing ca­pac­ity for 1,000 to 1,200 peo­ple. It also fea­tures a pres­ti­gious FIFA cer­ti­fied 2-star rat­ing, which is the high­est FIFA rat­ing for ar­ti­fi­cial turf fields.

“The pitch is one of the best ar­ti­fi­cial turfs avail­able in the coun­try to­day,” Gas­tanes said.

The ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for the PFF House of Foot­ball, one of the on­go­ing

in­fra­struc­ture projects of the Na­tional Foot­ball Cen­ter, was also held ear­lier in the day. The four­storey build­ing will serve as the PFF of­fi­cial head­quar­ters, which will in­clude its cor­po­rate of­fices, train­ing cen­ter and dor­mi­to­ries for mem­bers of the na­tional teams at­tend­ing their train­ing camps.

Fu­ture de­vel­op­ments in­clude two nat­u­ral grass turfs, two mini ar­ti­fi­cial pitches, locker and shower rooms, gym, and a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter avail­able for in­jured and re­cov­er­ing play­ers.

“The Manila Jockey Club is proud to part­ner with the PFF and FIFA in build­ing these fa­cil­i­ties that will help raise our stature in world foot­ball. With other de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line for Philip­pine foot­ball in the area, the San Lazaro Leisure and Busi­ness Park is proud to take its place as a mecca of foot­ball in this coun­try. Rest as­sured that MJC will con­tinue to sup­port and cre­ate pro­grams in co­op­er­a­tion with the PFF to­ward a big­ger and brighter fu­ture for Philip­pine foot­ball,” lawyer Al­fonso Reyno III, pres­i­dent of MJC, said.

Af­ter the launch, the PFF held its first foot­ball matches pit­ting a women’s foot­ball friendly between the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines and the De La Salle Uni­ver­sity, and an of­fi­cial Ang Liga men’s foot­ball match dom­i­nated by NCAA cham­pi­ons San Beda Col­lege against UAAP cham­pion Ate­neo de Manila.

The event co­in­cided with Manila Jockey Club’s 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion this year.

Its part­ner­ship with the PFF pays trib­ute to its her­itage as one of the ear­li­est foot­ball clubs in the coun­try. sIn the early 1900s, MJC had its own foot­ball club formed af­ter the Philip­pine-Amer­i­can War which com­peted with lo­cal teams such as the Manila Sport­ing Club, Paris Club, Sandow Ath­letic Club and the Bo­hemian Sport­ing Club.

MJC pres­i­dent Al­fonso Reyno III (left), MJC chair­man and CEO Al­fonso Reyno Jr. (cen­ter) and PFF pres­i­dent Mar­i­ano Araneta are shown dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion and turnover cer­e­monies of the FIFA Foot­ball Turf Project at the San Lazaro Leisure and Busi­ness Park.

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