Beckham's LA Galaxy asks Philippines for a 'date'

USA Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy has requested to be invited to visit Manila in December with its star David Beckham. A letter reportedly sent by Anschutz Entertainment Group Asia Managing Director Ed Cunningham to Philippine Football Federation President Johnny Romualdez last February inquired if the capital city of the Philippines could be one of the Galaxy’s stops in a proposed four-city Far East Asian tour. “We are looking to develop an Asian tour of the Galaxy with its new star in late 2007,” Cunningham reportedly wrote. “As the soccer authority in the Philippines, I would like to get your advice as to whether an event of the Galaxy with Beckham on the team will be of potential interest to your country.”

Romualdez told ABS-CBN News that it is not so easy to welcome Galaxy to the country with open arms. Although there was no mention of a fee, he estimated the Galaxy will ask to be paid at least US$500,000 for appearing on Philippine soil. Another problem is assembling a competitive team to play the Galaxy. The Philippine squad is an emerging force in Southeast Asia but not yet quite as tough as Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia. Romualdez said an option is to put together a South East Asian all-star team but that would entail additional expenses. Obviously, the PFF has better ideas on how to employ their resources for football development.

“We’re still awaiting word from AEG,” said Romualdez. “Nothing is certain, one way or the other. We’re not pursuing it because that would only up the price. Besides, we’ll be busy in December as we’re expecting a visit from the FIFA president to inaugurate the PFF’s new building." But Romualdez said Beckham’s celebrity status would surely fuel badly needed public interest in football.