The Philippines Football League (PFL) brought to you by Qatar Airways will open its fourth season on 25 October 2020 with three matches scheduled at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
The league kickoff is the culmination of the long preparation to ensure that professional football makes its return to national consciousness.
“Everyone is ready to play,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. in the season launch held in an online webinar last Wednesday 14 October 2020. “We thank a lot of people and organizations for making this league come true. ”
In preparation for the start of the league, PFF made representations to the Inter-Agency Task Force, through the Games and Amusements Board, to allow initially for clubs to conduct their training sessions and eventually start the competition, under strict health and safety protocols.
Among the restrictions for the competition is to have a bubble set-up where all players, staff, and match officials will be billeted at Seda Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Teams are required to undergo two (2) RT/PCR tests prior to their entry to the bubble on 21 October 2020.
“We have been allowed to conduct actual league matches subject to the bubble setup and observance of health and safety protocols jointly approved by GAB and IATF,” said PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “We are here about to befin actual games because of the help from GAB, the IATF, clubs, and sports fans.”
The 2020 season will see teams play five (5) matches each in a Single Round-Robin format totalling 15 matches this season until 6 November 2020. Matches will be played at 9:00 AM, 4:30 PM, and 8:30 PM at the PFF National Training Center, which will have floodlights in time for kickoff. The shortened league season was made to address concerns regarding match fitness despite a month of controlled training.
“In consideration to player fitness given that they have not played for 7 months, we do not want to play a lot of matches in a compressed situation,” said PFL commissioner Coco Torre. “What’s unique with PFL is that it’s the only competition in a semi bubble and hosted by PFF in a centralized venue.”
The opening fixtures on 25 October will see the Azkals Development Team take on Mendiola FC at 9:00 AM, followed by Stallion Laguna FC vs. Kaya FC-Iloilo at 4:30 PM, and the last match of the day at 8:00 PM will be between Maharlika Manila FC and United City FC.