by Rick Olivares
MANILA -- The Philippines Football League (PFL) now has five official football clubs.
This, according to Philippine Football Federation (PFF) general-secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes in a phone interview on Tuesday.
With the hosting for the Suzuki Cup over, the PFF is turning its attention to the launch of the PFL that will supersede the United Football League (UFL) as the top tier of Philippine club football competition.
“The UFL was instrumental is keeping football popular and viable for us. People must recognize their efforts. However, the league was Manila-based, while the PFL will be national in scope with clubs relocating to key cities. We are following the mandate of FIFA for this,” explained Gastanes.
“Clubs will be regionally and community based. The idea is also to develop local support including a fan base.”
The five clubs are Stallion, Kaya, Loyola, Global, and Ceres.
“The required number of clubs for the league is six to play. But it is possible we could have a field of eight clubs. Besides, the deadline for clubs to participate in the new national league is by year’s end,” Gastanes said.
“We have heard from other clubs who have expressed interest but they need to comply with certain procedures and licensing regulations before they can be officially accepted into the roster of teams,” he clarified.
According to Gastanes, Global, the three-time UFL champions, will be changing the name of their club. “We have yet to be informed what their club will be called,” he said.
Regarding television coverage, Gastanes said several parties have signified their intent to cover the league. “At the moment, it is a bidding process and we will only make the announcement when terms are reached,” he said.
The PFL is slated to kick off either by the last week of March or the first week of April 2017.