The Philippines now has a truly national and professional football league it can call its own.
What started out as a dream four years ago has become a reality with the Philippines Football League finally kicking off on May 6 with eight clubs vying in the inaugural season, marking another milestone for the Beautiful Game in the country.
Global-Cebu FC, Ceres-Negros FC, Kaya FC Makati, FC Meralco Manila, Stallion Laguna FC, JPV Marikina FC, Ilocos United FC and Davao Aguilas FC are the pioneering clubs of the league that will have two rounds of home-and-away matches.
“We are bringing the passion and the love for the Beautiful Game to different parts of the country with the PFL,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta at the PFL launching at Shangri-La Fort in Taguig City.
“This is a dream come true for all of us involved in this project. We appreciate the time, effort and resources put in by the clubs to make the PFL possible. We’ve taken the next step for Philippine football.”
The PFL was formed after close to four years of planning and organizing with a PFF task force, with the help of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the International Football Federation (Fifa).
PFF general-secretary Edwin Gastanes said the federation will be working with Singapore-based international sports marketing agency Red Card Media for the league commercials.
The league has also partnered with Peoples Television (PTV) for the airing of two live matches every weekend, Gastanes said. The live matches will be aired on Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.
“This is truly an unprecedented endeavor,” said Gastanes. “We are looking forward to a vibrant and exciting first season ahead for the PFL.”
The clubs signed their respective franchise agreements with the PFF two weeks ago, finally paving the way for kickoff.
The PFL will be the basis of nomination for AFC club competitions, particularly the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup, where Global and Ceres are currently seeing action.
Gastanes expressed optimism of the league’s success with the help of stakeholders of the sport and sponsors.
“We pray all stakeholders- club owners, players, coaches, match officials, fans and sports media will all help to grow and nurture the league,” Gastanes added.