By: Cedelf P. Tupas
31 July 2020
30 July 2020
25 July 2020
HANOI (25 July 2020) – The Organising Committee of the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam next year has chosen several venues in the north for the various football events that will be contested at the biennial meet.
Two stadiums in Hanoi – My Dinh National Stadium and the Hang Day Stadium – and also another in nearby Nam Dinh Province (Thien Truong Stadium) have been chosen to host the men’s football event.
The iconic My Dinh National Stadium will host all matches of the home team where they will also be the venue for the two semifinals and final game.
The Cam Pha Stadium in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh will be the sole venue for the Women’s Football event.
Futsal will be held at a sports complex in the northern province of Ha Nam.
Vietnam are the defending champions of both the men and women’s football events while Futsal was not contested in the Philippines in 2019.
The 31st edition of the SEA Games will be held on 21 November to 2 December 2021 in Hanoi and 10 other provinces.
MMC Sportz Asia announced yesterday that it led a group of private investors that will take over Ceres Negros Football Club for the upcoming Philippines Football League (PFL) season.
The club will now be known as United City Football Club, although it was not disclosed if it will still represent Bacolod for the PFL and the AFC Cup.
Eric Gottschalk, MMC's chief executive officer, said in a statement that United City will be keeping the core of Ceres Negros lineup for this season.
"We are proud to announce that we have received the commitment from 16 of the original 21 registered Ceres Negros players (not including James Younghusband who has retired recently from football) to play for the new club," Gottschalk said.
He added that Risto Vidakovic stays as head coach and Ace Bright retains his spot as general manager.
Gottschalk did not disclose the name of the players staying, although he added that they will be revealed soon.
"The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing," Gottschalk said.
“We will now immediately apply for permission with the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) to rename the club to 'United City Football Club'," he added.
Despite the name change, Gottschalk said the management group still intends to have United City playing in the AFC Cup.
United City, still listed as Ceres Negros, is unbeaten in Group G after the first round of the group stages with seven points on two wins and a draw.
The club will once again meet Bali United, Svay Rieng, and Than Quang Ninh in the second round from Sept. 23-29 in a bubble similar to the one being used by the National Basketball Association in its season restart.
The ownership transfer was done due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 in the businesses of former owner Leo Rey Yanson as well as the ongoing row within his family.
“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season,” Gottschalk said.*PNA
23 July 2020
For immediate release 23 July 2020
Ceres Negros to become “United City Football Club”
MMC Sportz Asia to lead a group of private investors to manage the Club through the 2020 Philippines Football League & AFC Cup competitions
Manila, Philippines – Today’s signing of the agreement cemented the transfer of ownership of the Ceres Negros Football Company, currently the #1 ranked team in ASEA and 3x defending champion in the PFL, to a group of private investors which is managed by MMC Sportz Asia.
“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the Club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season”, stated Eric Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz Asia, who will be the point of contact.
“We will now immediately apply for the permission with the PFF to re-name the Club to “United City Football Club” and request the PFF to support our statement of intent to continue participating in the AFC Cup”, states Gottschalk.
“We would like to honor the legacy which Mr. Yanson created when he founded the Ceres Negros Club and we will try to continue the development of Philippines football, especially the professional league and the National Team.”
We will make additional announcements regarding the players and staff that have already committed to join the new team and give a clear insight into the new ownership structure in the coming days. We believe transparency on all levels is key to the success of the new team and will unveil the names in due course.
“Our marketing activities are well under way, with the Fans at the heart of everything we do starting with a LOGO COMPETITION, with the final decision to come from the players and the Fans.”
We are proud to also announce that we have received the commitment 16 of the original 21 registered Ceres Negros players (not including James Younghusband who has retired recently from football), to play for the new Club with more details to be shared in the coming days”.
“We are also retaining almost the entire staff around General Manager Ace Bright, and it is our intent to have Coach Risto return as the Head Coach. The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing”
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19 July 2020
18 July 2020
15 July 2020
As negotiations for the new owner of Ceres-Negros FC continue, clubs playing for this year’s season of the Philippines Football League are gearing to return to their training sessions.
In support to the league, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has prepared the PFF National Training Center which will be the primary training venue of PFL clubs.
The PFF National Training Center is a 2-hectare facility inside the San Lazaro Leisure and Business Park in Carmona, Cavite. The lot was leased to PFF by the Manila Jockey Club Inc. (MJCI), the PFF announced on its website yesterday.
The National Training Center consists of one FIFA-funded 105mx68m artificial turf and two 20mx40m mini artificial pitches funded by the AFC.
Aside from the PFL matches, the National Training Center also hosted games of PFF Women’s League and PFF U15 Boys National Championship, coaching and refereeing courses, and national teams’ training sessions.
Last year, the center also hosted the International Women’s Friendly Match between the Philippines and Macau.
“We thank FIFA and AFC for providing PFF the facilities needed to improve the PFF National Training Center,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. “These developments in the facility are a great help to clubs and our own national teams in their training sessions”.
PFF undertakes to ensure that the training center complies with the infrastructure protocols set in the “PFF Operations Protocol on PFL”, such as mandatory temperature checks and health declaration prior to entry, sanitizing mats in the entry and exit areas, regular surface and equipment disinfection before and after each training session, availability of hand sanitizers at key areas, mandatory wearing of face masks when not training in the pitch, and physical distancing.
PFF is set to make the training center a “bubble” to prevent or minimize COVID-19 virus transmission, not only during club training but during actual league matches once approval is granted.*
14 July 2020
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is pinning their hopes that the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) may, in due course, allow training and eventual playing of amateur level football competitions.
Team sports and contact sports are still not allowed in the high-risk and medium risk areas in the country. However, the IATF recently approved the resumption of training for professional football clubs.
PFF initially announced that the local PFF Competitions scheduled for the year have been deferred until further notice owing to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the competitions that have been deferred are the PFF Women’s League, Regional Festival of Football, PFF U15 and U17 Boys Championship, and the PFF U16 and U18 Girls Championship.
“It really depends on the IATF, and at the moment, amateur team sports, much more contact sports are not allowed,” added PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr.
“We already had plans to start the U15 and U17 competitions this year. If we cannot start this year, we will host the competitions next year.”
“The PFF youth tournaments are deferred in the meantime,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “If the students are not allowed attend face-to-face classes, we should expect that they may not also be allowed to participate in contact team sports activities whether in training or competition.”
Despite the current restriction on age-group competitions, PFF hopes that senior women’s football may get the green light from IATF. FIFA announced that the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. The Philippine Women’s National Team look to qualify in this tournament.
“We are hoping for the return of Women’s football,” added Gastanes. “The next FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will feature 36 teams instead of 24 teams and this will serve as inspiration for the Philippine Women’s National Team which almost made it to the last Women’s World Cup held in France in 2019.”*pff.org
09 July 2020
BY NIDA A. BUENAFE
What was known in the football community as Ceres-Negros FC will be no more as the club announced yesterday that a new management and owner will soon take over.
In a statement posted on its social media account, Ceres-Negros Football Club said it is “currently in talks with investors who will be taking over the management and ownership of the club in preparation of the fourth season of the Philippines Football League and the resumption of the campaign in the AFC Cup.”
“As soon as the takeover is completed, the club will no longer be known as Ceres-Negros since our current chairman Leo Rey Yanson will not be involved in any way in the affairs of the club,” the official statement from the club said.
“This is one of the toughest decisions made by Mr. Yanson, whose passion for football was reflected at the way he poured his personal resources and steered the club to unprecedented heights,” the club added.
The announcement deeply saddened the loyal Ceres-Negros fans, who followed the team’s historic journey in Philippine football almost eight years ago.
“I was a bit shocked when I saw the announcement but I truly understand the situation why LRY had to do it,” Jan Gozon, leader of the Ultras Ceres said.
While his loyalty remains with Ceres-Negros FC and LRY, Gozon considers it “a good thing that a new investor will save the club although under a new name”.
As one of those who cheered the loudest for their beloved Ceres-Negros FC game after game, be it at the home pitch in Panaad Stadium or in an away match anywhere in the country, Gozon said he considers every match as a “best moment”
“Win or lose I always cherish it and I will carry it with me ‘till the end,” Gozon said.
He expressed his hopes that the new owner “will have the same heart, vision and passion as LRY and will continue the club’s glory”.
For a football fanatic who sums up Ceres-Negros as “The Pride of Negros”, he feels disheartened with the major changes in the club which he said “will affect the name and branded colors.”
However, he assured that “whoever the new owner will be, as long as its pro-Negros as it was with Ceres, we fans will continue to support”.
And there are those who link the conflict among the Yanson siblings to the decision of LRY to give up the ownership of the football club.
Ems Gelogo of Hinigaran said, “I definitely see a change of ownership of Ceres-Negros FC because of the family squabble. I am deeply saddened by this but it is what it is.”
Among those who chronicled the club’s meteoric rise in Philippine football is Bacolod-based sports photographer Stephen Tan.“Every game was like history in motion. I am honored to be part of it and I thank LRY and club administrator Daniel Nicholas Golez for tapping me as one of the official photographers of Ceres-Negros,” Tan said.*