Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta will be gunning for a seat in the International Football Federation (FIFA) council when the world’s football governing body convenes this May in Bahrain.
After holding a position in the Asian Football Federation (AFC) Executive Committee since 2015, the long time head of the country’s top football organization has set his sights on securing a position in the international council.
Besides Araneta, Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al Sa-bah, an incumbent member of the said council will be trying to retain his seat in the one of the most powerful councils in FIFA.
Chinese Football Association Vice President Zhang Jian and Korean Football Association head Chung Mong-gyu will also be vying for a position alongside Araneta.
According to Araneta, he is overwhelmed with the support he has been receiving since announcing his intent to contend for a higher position among the world’s football leaders.
He explained that he was surprised that leaders from the Western Asian region have expressed their support while reiterating that he is hoping that the he would also get the backing of the associations in Southeast Asia.
“Of course, I am happy that a lot of people are coming out to support me especially from the West and since I’m the only candidate in the Asean, hopefully, they will support me as well,” he told reporters.
Araneta, who hails from Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, stressed that the road to the council will not be easy because four candidates are running for the three positions available.
“You would really need the votes [of the majority]and because there are four of us vying for three positions, I would need at least 25 votes to make it,” he said.
The plight of Araneta to join the high-ranking officials of FIFA will be the first for any official from the PFF, which has been one of the most progressive football organizations in the continent.
The PFF head mentioned that his election in the council would equate to better representation for the Philippines in the world.
“It would be better if we had someone up there in the council because all of the plans of FIFA for football development would need the approval of the council,” he said.
“If you are there, you can propose a lot of things. Not only for the Philippines but also for the other developing football countries.”