Azkals players sanctioned for 'discipline breakdown'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Disciplinary Committee has cleared Azkals players Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy of sexual harassment in the complaint by former Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Cristy Ramos, but they and 4 others got sanctions for disciplinary and leadership issues.
According to Azkals team manager Dan Palami, the Disciplinary Committee found no evidence of sexual harassment on the part of Guirado and Moy.
“It is to the relief of the team and the management that such a serious charge has been found to be without foundation but this is no surprise to us,” said Palami in a statement.
However, Palami said the committee handed suspensions on “other parties not involved with the case.”
Palami did not mention the names of those who were suspended.
“With full respect to the Disciplinary Committee, we will be appealing the decision,” he said.
However, the Philippine Star reported Saturday that although Guirado and Moy were cleared of sexual harassment, they were suspended for one international game each for "breakdown in discipline."
Also suspended for the same offense is James Younghusband, who was team captain when the incident happened, the broadsheet said.
The Philippine Star also reported that Azkals coach Michael Weiss and team manager Dan Palami were suspended for 2 matches each for "failure of leadership." Assistant coach Edzel Bracamonte was meted a one-game suspension.
The newspaper said Dennis Wolf was reprimanded.
Last March, Ramos lodged a complaint before the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) against Guirado and Moy over an incident that took place before the Azkals’ friendly game against Malaysia in February.
Ramos served as a match commissioner for the game and was conducting a pre-game inspection when the incident happened.
"As I called the players individually so that we could check their accreditation cards and kits, Philippine player LEXTON MOY (no. 25) stood by my right side and said in a loud voice 'Must be a B cup,”'to which the players laughed loudly. As I was the only female in the room, he was apparently referring to my bra size,” said Ramos in her letter addressed to AFC Disciplinary Chair Lim Kia Tong.
“Additionally when I checked Philippine player ANGEL GUIRADO (no. 12) he stood in front of me purposely just wearing his briefs and made no attempts to wear shorts or cover his underwear. Again, the players loudly laughed while I was checking this player,” she added.
The complaint was later handled by the PFF Disciplinary Committee.
After the incident, Palami apologized on behalf of the team.
He said the players probably had a pre-game banter to motivate themselves ahead of the game.
“In my personal experience of the usual goings-on in the men’s locker room, the tension, excitement and nervous energy before a match often result in a lot of boisterous bantering. For someone who walks into this situation, this might appear as bordering on disrespect. But again, I am speaking only from my personal experience,” said Palami.