After four years of planning, the Philippine Football League (PFL) was officially launched on Friday in Taguig City with eight teams competing in the inaugural season.
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta expressed optimism about the new national football league saying that with the support of different stakeholders, it could usher in the rebirth of the sport in the country.
“I’m positive with this support for this league. These are community-based teams and they should get support. I think the teams are also committed to improve football in the amateur level in their respective provinces,” said Araneta.
The PFL replaced the United Football League (UFL) as the country’s premiere football tournament.
The PFF, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and the International Football Federation (FIFA) spearheaded the creation of the PFL whose games will be televised by People’s Television Network (PTV) 4.
Araneta hopes the PFL will rekindle the interest of the Filipinos on football.
“This is the first professional football league in the Philippines. We are really happy that this is pushing through. Hopefully, it would be successful. We are here to support the success of this league,” said Araneta.
“We have sponsors that are willing to fund the league. The owners and the teams are excited with this league and hopefully, it’s the same with the fans in the provinces,” Araneta added.
Six former Division 1 UFL teams banner the field led by Global Cebu FC, the last champion in the UFL.
The other ex-UFL teams are Bacolod’s Ceres Negros FC and Stallion Laguna FC. Meanwhile, the Metro Manila-based squads are Kaya FC-Makati, JP Voltes Marikina FC and FC Meralco Manila (formerly Loyola Meralco Sparks FC).
The newcomers Ilocos United FC will represent northern Luzon while the Davao Aguilas FC, is Mindanao’s lone entry in the PFL.
The games will be played in a home-and-away format with the top four clubs competing in a finals series similar to the Australian top tier football league.
Global will play its home games at the University of San Carlos Stadium, Ceres at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, Stallion at Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna, Kaya at the University of Makati Stadium, JP Voltes at the Marikina Sports Complex, FC Meralco at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila, Ilocos United at the Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur and Davao Aguilas at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex.
The PFL will open on May 6 with a double-header featuring Kaya FC and Ceres Negros at 4 p.m. while the Stallion Laguna and FC Meralco clash will begin at 7 p.m. Venues for the said matches will be announced on a later date.