Gears begin turning for PFF-led national professional football league

Gears begin turning for PFF-led national professional league
"This will be a professional league, with professional clubs and professional players." - PFF General Secretary Edwin Gastanes

The landscape of club football in the Philippines is about to change. 

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) announced in a press conference Tuesday morning that they have begun to brief Philippine football clubs interested to be part of the upcoming Philippines Football League, a new professional, national football league. 

With the new football league targeted to begin by March of 2017, the PFF will begin accepting applications from interested clubs in the coming weeks. 

According to PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, the clubs will be subject to requirements as imposed by the PFF Club Licensing Regulations, which can be seen on the PFF’s Website. 

Gastanes further shed some light on the league’s format, which will feature a home-and-away double round robin format, followed by a playoff, and then the finals.

“For our purposes, we will follow the Hyundai A-League. Assuming there will be eight teams that will participate, there can be two round-robin, after the two round robin, you get the top four that who be involved in the playoffs that we call the finals series, just like the playoffs in the UAAP and the PBA,” Gastanes said. “Because that format is more in-tuned with the pre-disposition of the sports fans here in the Philippines.”

Gastanes added that each applicant club will be asked to nominate a home stadium and to adopt the name of the city as part of the club’s name. 

The Nielsen research that somewhat sparked the creation of the league also identified a number of key cities that have “excellent potential” to serve as club cities, including Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Marikina, Bocaue, Pampanga, and Laguna in Luzon, while Bacolod, Cebu and Iloilo were the identified key cities in Visayas, while Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga were the cities in Mindanao. 

With the United Football League nearing the end of their contract with their broadcast partners, there’s a high chance that some of the league’s marquee teams will be switching over to the PFF’s Philippines Football League. 

Among the identified viable clubs that could make the jump are the Loyola Meralco Sparks, Green Archers United FC, KAYA FC, Ceres-La Salle FC, Stallion FC.

Gastanes emphasized however that as per AFC regulations, there must be at least six clubs to participate in the Philippines Football League for it to be recognized as a national, professional league. 

With the PFF ready to accept applications from interested clubs, expect this new, exciting chapter in Philippine football begin to take shape sooner, rather than later. 

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