PFF to launch Filipino pro league in 2017

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The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will be launching the Philippines Football League (PFL) by mid-March of next year.

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A minimum of six clubs will be playing in the professional tournament that will be held in different venues all over the country.

“In all the countries that have developed football, the national league or professional league is essential for the development of the sport. All these countries that are strong in football have their professional league,” said PFF President Mariano Araneta in a news conference on Tuesday at the Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig City.

The PFF is yet to determine the name of the participating teams as each must comply with licensing regulations requirements, which is mandatory for professional clubs.

Clubs from the current de-facto top-tier tourney United Football League has been issued invitations to compete in the PFL.

The PFF, through research firm Niel­sen, have identified key cities as possible home venues of the future teams in the nationwide meet, and they are Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Marikina, Bo­caue and Sta. Maria in Bulacan, Pam­panga, Laguna, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan De Oro and Zamboanga City.

Araneta said that they’ve already coordinated with the local governments of each of the named locations, adding that they received positive feedback.

“We have road shows and we’ll talk to them. We already had initial talks with them regarding the league and they are very supportive because you can really promote their cities and municipalities in the provinces,” he said.

“We don’t need big infrastructure for this, at a least 5000-seater venue will be okay.”

Araneta added that corporate sponsors would be an integral part of the sustainability of a professional tournament in the national level, “In our studies, we have identified the companies that can support the league and the clubs. Once we form the company that will involve the clubs, we will approach all this companies eventually,” he said.

Araneta believes that the introduction of the PFL will boost the popularity of the sport in the country.

“Because it is community-based, so the communities will support it. We will also be conducting seminars for fan-based development and it will be done together with the AFC,” he said.

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