10 February 2013

Limpag: A curious fact about UFL’s Emperador Stadium

Fair Play
Sunday, February 10, 2013
EMPERADOR, dito na tayo sa totoo. Now that’s the tagline for the sponsor of the 
United Football League’s stadium.
Well, 25 years from now, and if the stadium would still be standing, there is going
 to be a curious fact involving Cebu, or to be more precise, what didn’t involve
 Cebu, when the Emperador Stadium opened shop.
Cebu Queen City United didn’t show up for their UFL Division 2 debut
 against the Dolphins.
And to be honest? It’s quite an embarrassment.
After reading updates of how the team was preparing for the UFL season,
 I thought that they were really going to go through another 18-game grind of going to Manila and back.
To be honest? I never expected Cebu Queen City United to return to the UFL.
 There were talks of a Visayan league being formed, and I thought that that 
would be their focus. And when I got to talk to some Cebu Queen City 
officials and players of the hardship they went through the previous season
 in traveling to Manila weekly, I was sure the prospect of traveling to
 Manila and back for 18 weekends wasn’t attractive.
You have guys missing the weekend with their family to travel and as anyone
 catching a flight to catch a meeting knows, delays are stressful. Last season, 
against a team they were supposed to beat by a mile, Cebu Queen City 
barely squeaked by. And the reason? Their flight got so delayed they
 reached the venue with only an hour to spare, sans lunch. While the 
other team was warming up, they were having lunch, on the field.
So the request for having half of their 18 games played at home is understandable.
But this is the UFL, not the EPL. And I don’t think the UFL has that luxury.
Cebu Queen City officials say they also requested that last Saturday’s game 
against the Dolphins be moved, pending the UFL’s answer to their request.
 The UFL’s Coco Torre told InterAKTV that they never received such request.
Whatever the case is can’t erase this fact—Cebu Queen City was a no-show
 when the country’s premier league opened its brand new Emperador Stadium. Yan ang totoo.
There are two ways to go about this. The UFL and Queen City can
 spend the next few days pointing fingers on whose fault it was that 
led to the no show or they can spend it to take what I think is the best course of action, solve this impasse.
Cebu Queen City wants to have half of its home games in Cebu and the
 turnout in its home game against Pachanga in the PFF Smart Cup—
when the grandstand was filled and hundreds more were in the sidelines—
show it would be a hit.
Can the UFL afford it, and if the league can’t, what can Cebu Queen City
 provide to make that happen?
And if they can’t agree on nine games, can the UFL and Queen City 
work on a compromise? Say, have Cebu’s final five games played at home, 
as sort of an incentive, something to look forward to the when the season ends.
Queen City said that if it won’t get its request granted, then it would just 
sit out the season. I think that’s the wrong attitude to take. 
As one critic said over Twitter, that’s like holding the league hostage.
Any negotiations call for a compromise, not a take-this-or-the-highway attitude.
I hope they work this out because Cebu Queen City United, like I said last year, 
set the standard for a provincial team competing in the UFL--the 
country’s premier league.
It would be quite a downside for them to exit this way.
You guys have each other’s numbers; call them, maybe?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2013.

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