[April Fools] Philippine Football League delayed to 2018

The upcoming Philippine Football League will be delayed to January 2018 according to a source in the Philippines Football Federation. The league was slated to start this April but was moved because of a major issue.

“We encountered a roadblock for the opening match,” said an anonymous source inside the federation. “We want to make this a very good opening for the league but met an unexpected challenge along the way,” the source added.

An interview with the interested teams also welcomed the delay of the league. “We cant move forward unless this problem is resolved,” said a team manager who requests for anonymity. “I mean we love the sport and we play football week in and week out and we but the federation needs to resolve the issue first before we start the league,” the team manager added.

Unconfirmed reports say that the Federation was planning an opening show in the grandest scale with song and dance numbers from top Filipino celebrities and international artists prior to the opening match. The opening however hit a snag when two teams fought over Lisa Soberano as the team muse in opening day. The issue is largely blamed to the actress’ manager whose a verbal commitment was secured by one team, but offered Lisa to another after cash was offered on the spot.

“It’s very ugly. I’m not talking about Lisa, I’m talking about situation” said the Philippines Football Federation source. “The teams have gone to court and hopefully it will be resolved on time for the opening. I hope it doesn’t reach the Supreme Court. Lisa is a very very beautiful actress and we want her to be in our opening day”. The actress nor the manager could not be reached for comment.

The Philippine Football League is not related to the Philippines Football League of the Philippine Football Federation. The Philippines Football Federation is a federation of American Football enthusiasts in the Philippines and must not be confused with the Philippine Football Federation that is involved with Soccer.

 

 

PFF launches new national league: The F.League

After years of careful studying and planning, the Philippine Football Federation has officially announced the creation of a new football league for the Philippines, The F.League.

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“After almost three years of preparation, we’re actually here”, said PFF President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta. “The F.League is a representation of all of us in the national football community and we are very happy to have started this endeavor to strengthen the regional competition and eventually make this country a great footballing nation,” he added.

The F.League, which is a shortcut for Filipinas League, is set to start on February 2017 with 12 clubs from all over the country. Majority of the clubs are from the United Football League coupled with new teams such as FC Biñan and Cebu City FC.

The league name was decided upon by the PFF National League Task Force which is similar to Japan’s J.League and Singapore’s S.League. “The choice of ‘F’ over ‘P’ was academic as to differentiate the new league from the old P-League,” said Araneta. The PFF President was referring to the now defunct P-League which was established in the early 90’s after Philippines’ success in SEA Games football.

The use of “Filipinas” as the league name went through the approval of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) before it was allowed to be used in the league’s incorporation. The government body, who pushed for the use of “Filipinas” over “Pilipinas”, was delighted over the proposed name. “Masaya kami na napili ang Filipinas na pangalan ng isang ligang pampalakasan sa ating bansa,” said KWF Commissioner Teddy Bhoy Locsin.

UFL Clubs had to follow the naming standards set by the PFF prompting many of the clubs to rename their clubs with their home locations. Ceres-Negros FC, Stallion-Iloilo FC, Kaya-Makati FC, QC-Meralco Sparks, Global-Tacloban FC, and Taft Avenue FC.
“We actually like the change of the name to Ceres-Negros as we are representing the whole Negros Island in our games,” said Ceres and Azkals player Juani Guirado.

“It’s quite nice that we’ll be able to represent Quezon City in the F.League which will allow us to bring the games closer to Metro Manila’s biggest city. I’m delighted to be part of this league and playing for this city just means a lot to me and Phillip,” said Sparks Captain James Younghusband.

The most intriguing name change is Taft Avenue FC, formerly Green Archers United FC. With the closure of Manila Jeepney FC, the club wanted to represent both the cities of Manila and Pasay with management choosing to name it after the road traversing both cities. “I think hindi pa to nagagawa sa history ng football kaya masaya kami na magrepresent ng dalawang cities dito sa Metro Manila,” said Taft Avenue Captain and Azkals Legend Chieffy Caligdong

Newcomers in FC Biñan and Cebu City FC are no pushovers given that these new clubs have formed partnerships with European giants FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC. Biñan, who will be known as FCB, has partnered with FCB Escuela to provide training for the youth and will serve as the scouting arm of the current world club champions. The Laguna-based team will be getting player loans from the Catalan capital to strengthen the new side.

Cebu City meanwhile has a bigger partnership as it is partially owned by Manchester City FC who also has ventures in New York City FC of the MLS and Melbourne City of the A-League. “I’m very happy that my favorite EPL club will be represented here in the Philippines. I might even consider a move to Cebu,” said Philippine Football pundit Bob Guerrero. Manchester City has a forty percent stake in the Cebu club, a limitation set by Philippine law.

The inclusion of the Manchester outfit in Philippine Football is already causing quite a stir as they have already sent big-money bids to Ceres players and Cebu natives Louis Michael Casas and Arnie ‘Dodz’ Pasinabo. Cebu City is also set to bring in Filipino-Australians from their Melbourne counterparts to make it a force to reckon with in the F.League.

The league, however, has to resolve the issue with its infrastructure as only a few cities have the capability to host games according to AFC Club licensing requirements. Only Bacolod, Cebu, Binan, Manila, and Makati are the cities with qualified stadia to fulfil this requirement. This has forced some of the clubs to temporarily share home stadiums such as the Rizal Memorial and UMak.

“The stadium sharing is temporary as it will take time for the clubs to have their own. Right now, we just have to start somewhere in order for our league to grow,” said Araneta. Teams such as Kaya Makati and QC Meralco will share UMak while Global-Tacloban and Taft Avenue United will share the Rizal Memorial.

With the creation of the F.League the UFL will be the regional league for the Greater Metro Manila area while new regional leagues will be created for Northern Luzon, South Luzon, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Western Mindanao, and Eastern Mindanao.

The winners of these leagues will feature in a year end tournament to decide who will be promoted to the top flight the following year. The bottom team from the F.League will be automatically relegated to the regional league while the second-to-the last team will feature in a relegation playoff.

Since it’s past April 1st. Happy April Fools Folks! Don’t worry, the national league will come. So be ready.

Stephan Shrock signs with Ceres-La Salle FC

Bacolod powerhouse Ceres-La Salle FC secured Filipino International Stephan Shrock through a loan deal last night to mark the biggest move of the first UFL transfer window this year.

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The news came as a shock to Football insiders as Stephan was still trying to make his way back to the Azkals after falling out with Coach Thomas Dooley last year.  Though he was not included in last month’s friendly against Bahrain, it is expected that the German-Born Azkal will use recent transfer to work his way back to the national squad.

It was a coup for the Negros-based team as recent acquisitions in Martin Steuble and Valentine Kama made the team stronger in the pre-season and Shrocks acquisition would make them automatic favorites for the title.

“I am very happy to join Ceres which is the biggest club in the Philippines.  I have talked to the owner and management and I believe in their mission to be the best in Pinas and their vision to be a top Asian Club” said the former Greur Feurth player.

“We had the chance to get a top class player and were lucky enough to complete the negotiations and sign him to our team.  Stephan has given his one hundred percent commitment to our cause and we hope to win the League and Cup so we can qualify for Next year’s Asian competition” said Coach Ali Go.

“Stephan is a quality player who will help us in getting the title. I am happy that he joined our team and I hope he will be the difference maker this season” said Team Captain Juani Guirado.

Shrock will make his Ceres debut in the UFL Cup which will start by May.  He will reportedly star in a new comedy movie by Viva Films called ‘April Fools Day’.