One of the questions that came after Ceres-Negros FC announced the change of ownership is this: What will the club be renamed to?
Finally, they’ve been answered. Following the announcement on their Facebook page, “MMC Sportz to lead a group of private investors to manage the Club through the 2020 Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways & AFC Cup competitions.”
In that said announcement, “Ceres-Negros FC is to become United City Football Club”. Eric Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz, will be the point of contact and would most likely be heading this endeavor.
“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the Club into our name” stating that through these changes, the players that once played for Ceres-Negros would have a continued opportunity to play professionally in the Philippines Football League, and hopefully the AFC international club competitions.
With the intent of participating in this year’s competition, the statement also indicates that they are working with the PFF in securing the name change and their continued participation in the upcoming PFL 2020 season that was halted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
“We would like to honor the legacy which Mr. Yanson created when he founded the Ceres Negros Club and we will try to continue the development of Philippines football, especially the professional league and the National Team.” said Gottschalk.
With their marketing teams already working on getting the team up and running, there seems to be more announcements to come in the next coming days.
What they can confirm for now is that 16 of the original 21 players have already given their commitments to stay.
“The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing”
It was indicated that Ceres-Negros FC General Manager, Ace Bright, and most of his staff has been retained. They also intend to continue the services of head coach Risto Vidakovic who had been very instrumental to the club’s success.
MMC Sportz is a Dubai-based sports marketing agency, providing specialized marketing and communications solutions to the sports & entertainment industry.
MMC’s First Stint in Philippine Football
This, perhaps, would be their second attempt in running a Philippine Football club. It can be remembered that they had tried taking the reigns on the currently embattled Global FC, also a highly decorated team.
But their first attempt didn’t show much success. They had attempted to rebrand Global FC to United Makati FC claiming that the club would not be sharing in the former’s heritage or have any connections and would be a completely different entity.
Sad to say, United Makati FC, and all that they had planned with it, fell through along with the Philippine Premier League that it was supposed to debut in. When the PFL retook the league, the name would be returned to Global-Cebu FC for the 2019 season then eventually back to the original Global FC for the upcoming 2020 season due to some technicalities of the registration.
Rumors were already circulating regarding Global’s continued woes. And it had been more apparent after several of Global’s matches were forfeited due to some internal developments that occurred.
Global FC, under MMC Sportz, placed last at the end of the season. In January 2020, the club was involved with Mazinyi Management Ltd. – a Hong Kong-based consortium.
And now, Global has been put in the spotlight yet again. A local graphics artist who provided artwork for Global’s social media posts was left unpaid. This in turn led to the said artist to speak up, leading the local football community into a frenzy that saw everyone stand up against the former champions in support of the artist and all other individuals that had, allegedly, experienced the same concerns.
It remains to be seen if MMC Sportz would handle this differently as it was a fact that Global FC was already in a downward spiral when the club was sold to them.
Unexpected turn of events
Almost no one saw this coming. Only days ago, speculations were building around a possible merger of Ceres-Negros to the now defunct Davao Aguilas team. This speculation started when the youth club operations of both teams had started a partnership.
Knowing the history behind these teams, a lot of people knew this was never going to happen. But it did bring some talks of it out in the air. People were already so hyped about who took over CNFC, and this added more to their curiosity.
The Pulse of the Masses
This new development, of course, lit a fire of discussion among the football community and groups, garnering mostly negative reactions from the crowd.
There were a lot of things that fans called out, mainly the dissociation of the club to Negros. As CNFC was a Negros-based club with deep roots tied to it’s community, such name change would also mean that the team is now changing it’s identity.
Others were more focused on the new management and their ties to Global FC, citing the fears of possibly mishandling the club.
How this pans out, how the club moves forward, and how the fans would warm up to this remains to be seen. But it does not seem to be a step in the right direction according to the general mood of the community it represents.
A Glimmer of Hope
With the new team’s intention to keep as much of the original staff as possible, it still a possibility that they can keep the momentum going.
The core of the team is most likely retained, and the same goes for the management. But what that means to the Negrenses is still out there to be proven.