GLOBAL owner Dan Palami is undaunted by the new challenge his team is facing but lashed United Football League officials, saying they need to do “do better” regarding technical matters.
The UFL in a surprising move on Thursday announced the league is returning to the initial pairings as decided by the technical committee, setting up a sudden quarterfinal matchup between top seeds and favorites Global and Loyola Meralco on Tuesday.
Palami is confident of his team's chances, but aired his dismay over the development after his team overwhelmed Philippine Navy, 8-0.
“If we really want to be professionals, then, it’s something that should have been addressed a long time ago. Several decisions by the UFL sometimes take too long to be formulated.”
“And sometimes some decisions are not even decisions, but decisions to not make a decision. We’ve been at the wrong end of such kinds of decisions,” added the businessman and football patron, whose team is still in a contract dispute with Stallion for the services of banned Spanish striker Rufo Sanchez, a three-month-old case which has yet to be resolved by the league.
“So I think everybody has to step up. The league is already on its ninth, tenth year (including three televised seasons). I hope in the future they’ll do better.”
The technical committee earlier revised the bracket—with the permission from the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA)—before the start of the knockout stage to guarantee that the top seeds would only meet deep in the playoffs—which is traditionally followed by leagues in all other sports.
The technical committee is composed of one representative from each club, two representatives from the governing Football Alliance, one representative from the NCRFA or Philippine Football Federation, and the tournament director.
But the move, sources said, was inexplicably met with protest by three teams in the middle of the Round of 16.
UFL media officer Jing Jamlang said the NCRFA then decided to retract its permission given to the UFL to revise the format as the vote had to be unanimous and not just majority, forcing the league to return to its original format.
The development thus pits heavyweights Global and Loyola in the quarterfinals, with the winner now facing that of the Green Archers United-Ceres-La Salle tie, while Union Internacionale Manila faces Air Force, and Stallion taking on Pachanga-Diliman for a semifinal spot.
“Although the Tech Comm admits the initial format is flawed, as the top seeds immediately face each other in the quarterfinals, it was agreed that changing the format midway through the competition would be an unhealthy precedent to set for future competitions,” Jamlang said.
“The committee accepts that it was an oversight in their part not to have altered the format before the start of the competition, and has vowed to be more diligent in ensuring similar problems will no longer arise in the future,” he added.
Palami remains undaunted of the challenge ahead for his club, a former Cup and League champion and perennial contender.
“If you want to be champions, you have to be ready to play against anybody and everybody. So I guess, it will really be a big task for us and we’ll just have to play the game.”