Philippines withdraws as co-host of 2016 Suzuki Cup

Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia are now among the nations to have expressed interest in replacing Philippines as hosts of the year-end football tournament. 

Philippines has withdrawn as co-host of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, after they failed to meet the criteria set by the Asean Football Federation (AFF).

According to the competition’s regulations, a minimum 30-thousand seat capacity stadium has to be the primary venue of group stage matches.

While the 20-thousand seat privately-owned Philippine Sports Stadium was nominated, Philippines Football Federation (PFF) did not manage to submit a written stadium hire contract to the AFF by the extended deadline of 9 February.

A decision on a replacement host country will be made by the AFF Council

- Asean Football Federation

As such, PFF general secretary Edwin Gastanes said in a media statement that Philippines will pull out as hosts.

Philippines’ replacement will be decided on 12 March, according to the AFF.

“The Philippines Football Federation have notified the ASEAN Football Federation that they have withdrawn as hosts for the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup 2016,” said a statement on the AFF website.

“The AFF Competitions Committee will meet at the earliest opportunity to discuss this matter. A decision on a replacement host country will be made by the AFF Council at its next meeting on 12 March, 2016, in Da Nang, Vietnam.”

Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam have all expressed their interests in taking over from Philippines.

Singapore co-hosted the last edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup with Vietnam, but they were plagued with pitch issues at the National Stadium.

Concerts slated to be held at the venue had to postponed or cancelled in order to preserve the pitch’s condition, and only Singapore’s three group games were held there. Other nations had to play at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The National Stadium has since switched to a lay-and-play turf, and it was used during the Southeast Asian Games 2015. The likes of Arsenal and Japan have also played there in recent years.