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The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) recently launched a League Task Force that will prepare for a national football league in 2016.
In line with FIFA’s thrust for its Member Associations to conduct a national league, the PFF tapped key professionals to study, formulate and recommend the best possible model for the country.
With this mandate, the League Task Force is expected to provide a program of action for the establishment of a professional football league that is national in scope, professionally managed, commercially sustainable, utilizaing best infrastructure, attracting a large fan base and community involvement, and with the active participation of developed clubs.
Both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will guide the PFF and the League Task Force by providing assistance, technical support and professional counsel on the various aspects of the league.
The name of the league has yet to be determined. Initial ideas include having 10 professional teams with 4 coming from Luzon, 4 from Visayas and 2 from Mindanao. Participating teams are expected to comply with PFF Club Licensing standards, which will be drafted by PFF with AFC’s assistance.
Several playing fields have initially been identified in major cities throughout the country as possible venues for the matches.
The national league is expected to advance the level of competitiveness of Philippine Football and also serve as a venue for local Filipino football talents to emerge and be considered for the national team. The national league will also improve the Philippines’ ranking in the AFC. For AFC Champions’ League qualifications, the Philippines is currently placed 30th and may advance further with the national league since clubs comprise 70% of the criteria in the ranking, the 30% being the national team’s standings. Clubs from the top 24 teams in Asia qualify for the Champions League. The national league will also help qualify the Philippines in the AFC Cup.
The Task Force has yet to determine the final inaugural season for the national league, but is targetting Season 2015/2016.
Members of the League Task Force include Filipino economist Bernie Villegas as Chairman, United Football League (UFL) President Randy Roxas as resource person for Clubs, former UFL Commissioner Bonnie Ladrido as resource person for Finance, PFF Competitions Department Head Cyril Dofitas as technical resource person, ABS-CBN’s Head of Sports Dino Laurena as resource person for Marketing, National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) President and PFF Board of Governor Member Atty. Roland Tulay as resource person for Legal and Governance, and Football Philippines Editor and former DepEd Communications Head Angelico Mercader as resource person for communications.
The Task Force is being guided by FIFA through its Kuala Lumpur Development Office headed by Domeka Garamendi, and AFC, through AFC Deputy General Secretary and Competitions Director Windsor John from Malaysia and Yogesh Desai, the AFC Kick-off Program Director.