The United Football League on Tuesday said there is a possibility of lifting the one-year ban recently imposed on reigning League MVP Rufo Sanchez, who is in the middle of a contract dispute between Stallion and Global.
UFL media officer Jing Jamlang confirmed that the Spanish strike star has indeed been banned for one year in all competitions of the Philippines’ premier football league for ignoring the league’s advice to abstain from playing for Global until the contract-technicality dispute Stallion had been settled.
“It’s a tough decision to make for the UFL considering Rufo Sanchez is the leading scorer and he’s a great attractor of crowds. But he went against the ruling of the UFL,” Jamlang said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
Sanchez, also the league’s reigning Golden Boot winner, signed a deal with Global last month after insisting that his contract with defending Cup and League champion Stallion had already expired last August.
Global owner Dan Palami earlier said he reviewed the terms of Sanchez’s previous contract before signing the Spaniard to a new deal.
However, Stallion coach Ernie Nierras reiterated that Sanchez is still under contract with the reigning League titlists until next year and refused to grant the Spaniard’s Player Transfer Certificate, making him ineligible to play for Global.
The UFL disciplinary committee forfeited Global’s preseason games where Sanchez suited up.
When Sanchez still played for Global in two legs of the Singapore Cup semifinals earlier this month, UFL decided to impose the stiff penalty.
Jamlang said Sanchez has 10 days, or until October 14, to appeal the decision.
“We’re open to possibly overturning that decision if we get a good evidence to do so,” Jamlang said.
Jamlang admitted that the UFL was not ready to handle contract disputes and "could've handled the (Sanchez case) better."
“It (UFL) is growing so quickly,” Jamlang added. “Wala pa namang contract disputes sa Philippine football ever. Yung system of the UFL was not ready for that, not yet. We admit we could’ve handled it better.”
The case has since been elevated to the Philippine Football Federation disciplinary committee under chairman Enrico Ingles.
“Now we need legal help to seek how this thing is going to pan out…This is a very serious issue and we’re looking to make sure that hindi na ‘to mangyayari ulit ito sa future,” Jamlang concluded.