John Gutierrez clarifies Filipinas' situation leading to Jeff Cheng's 'surprise' resignation

PFF chief John Gutierrez aired his side on what went down that led to Jeff Cheng stepping down as the Filipinas' manager. PFF (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--Philippine Football Federation President John Gutierrez confirmed on Monday that the Filipinas inquired about holding a certain event.

However, he categorically clarified that there was no direct denial in holding the said event and also said that he was surprised Jeff Cheng suddenly resigned as the national team's manager.

"In my recollection, there was a request for approval on a certain program or activity, and we responded by official correspondence that we needed to sit down and discuss. And then we are surprised he resigned," Gutierrez said during a press conference called by the PFF at Studio 300 here to discuss the situation among the national teams.

The national sports association executive did not divulge what activity eventually did not push through, but it was reported that the Filipinas were supposed to hold a talent identification and training camp in the United States.

The stalled training camp was rumored to be the last straw that led to Cheng stepping down as the Filipinas manager.

Despite Cheng's sudden resignation, Gutierrez believes that it would not hamper the PFF's plans for the national teams ahead of international events coming up.

"I think we'll recover just fine. I don't think there's anything to recover from. I think whatever preparations we need to go through for qualifications, friendlies, or other tournaments will go on as scheduled," Gutierrez further said.

"The federation will just have to move on."

He later denied another report that some employees at the PFF already signed in the aftermath of Cheng's shock resignation, which was made public on June 23.

For his part, national team director Freddy Gonzalez said that the transition period has begun between transferring the Filipinas' management.

"We just did a turnover with Jeff this morning, and it's probably gonna take the whole week to really iron everything out," Gonzalez said, adding that he will talk to the current players and coaching staff later this week to discuss what is going to happen from hereon.

The concurrent Philippine men's national football team manager, who will now act as the Filipinas' interim manager, hinted that major changes could take place.

"The way we set up the men's team the last few months, we're just gonna be applying the same thing to the women's moving forward," Gonzalez further said.

He then bared plans of having the Filipinas in action in October and holding matches at home the following month to go back-to-back with the PMNFT's home stands in the ASEAN Mitsubishi Electric Cup.

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