Local Football

Philippines’ Return to Football almost complete

After almost six months of waiting, Philippine football fans might be treated to some football action if all things go into plan for the Philippine Football Federation and the Philippines Football League.

In their virtual presser with the Philippine Sportswriters Association, the PFF President Mr. Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and the PFL commissioner Mikhail “Coco” Torre bared out their action plans to make sure that the league will push through this year.

Earlier this year, the PFF received a grant amounting to one million US dollars from FIFA as assistance in these trying times. The federation plans to use this to help the league as well as the regional FAs to get back up on their feet during the pandemic.

“We can help the league in testing, we can apply part of the funding from FIFA to the league as well.” said Mr. Araneta regarding the COVID-19 assistance grant provided by the world football governing body.

The PFF also received donations of COVID-19 testing kits to be used not only for the PFL but also for the entire PFF. Araneta affirmed the assistance of the PFF in terms of the next rounds of testing for the clubs participating in the league.

Talking about the league, Torre bared the plans of doing a single-round robin and other alternatives to shorten the period of the league if needed due to the fact that the league might see a very short stint this year.

He also mentioned that the PFL brought to you by Qatar Airways might see six clubs participating in it provided that the PFF Club licensing First Instance Body approves the pending license of newcomers Maharlika FC.

“If things go well, magkakaroon tayo ng six clubs by the end of this day,” said Torre.

They will join the United City FC (UCFC) in their debut in the league, Kaya FC-Iloilo, Stallion-Laguna FC, Mendiola FC 1991, and The Azkals Development Team (ADT).

As for Global FC, while they are still waiting for the verdict of the First Instance body, seems to be out of the doors already.

Regarding their plans on how to proceed with the league, Torre said “There are two options. First, we go in the bubble for a month or to battle the COVID-19, we do frequent testing.”

Should a bubble be feasible for the league, they will make use of the facilities in the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite for their training sessions and the league matches.

Araneta also mentioned that there are surrounding hotels that can accommodate the clubs and that they are already looking into this as a possible option to create the aforementioned bubble.

The National Training Centre also got a facelift as floodlights have already been installed to allow longer hours for training sessions and to accommodate the matches as well in the PFL.

Torre also mentioned that clubs who will be scheduling their training sessions in the said training centre can utilize the main field as well as the smaller pitches next to it which in total, could field up to 20 players with safe distancing.

With their efforts already laid out, the only thing that Coco asks from the clubs are their cooperation to maintain a safe and healthy environment throughout the league.

“Pinaka-importante talaga dito is sundin nila (players/staff) yung instructions,” said Mikhail “Coco” Torre.

Starting September 2, 2020, clubs can now have their training sessions. The first ones to train will be UCFC, Kaya FC-Iloilo and Stallion-Laguna FC to be followed by the rest of the clubs.

https://twitter.com/WeArePFL/status/1300586451109781504

In terms of the AFC Cup participation of United City FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo, as of posting, the AFC Cup has been postponed as Vietnam Football Federation opted out of hosting the remaining matches of the group stages.

Both Torre and Araneta are hopeful that the league will push through this season.

“At this point, 30 days from tomorrow, yun yung target natin. 15 days after tomorrow, hihingi tayo ng endorsement from GAB to start the league,” said Torre

“We will try our best to bring football to you, hopefully in a month’s time. Stay safe and wear your masks,” followed by Araneta.

With that being said, all we can do now is to be hopeful that nothing wrong will happen over the next 30 days for us to see some football action we’ve been waiting for such a long time now.

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