WHILE WAITING for word for their season to start, officials of the Philippines Football League (PFL) said they are ready to get the action going if and when given the approval to do so.
They made the assurance on Wednesday in a virtual press conference hosted by the league and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) where they gave updates on the goings-on with the PFL and what is to be expected from it when the season does kick off.
Currently the start of the PFL’s fourth season is on hold as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remains a concern for the country.
It was supposed to start in March but with COVID-19 starting to take further toll, PFL officials deemed it necessary to postpone it to a still-to-be-determined later date.
PFF President Mariano Araneta, whose organization oversees the affairs of the PFL, said the league has been busy fulfilling all the requirements needed for a possible resumption especially after they got approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for PFL teams to resume practices albeit needing to follow strict health and safety guidelines.
Players, too, he said, are currently undergoing swab testing as part of the requirements to participate in team practices, and later on, in the tournament.
Mr. Araneta was also happy to share that Qatar Airways remains committed to sponsor the PFL despite the impact COVID-19 has had on the company.
They are constantly in contact with their Qatar Airways counterparts, keeping the latter updated on the status of the league amid the pandemic.
The airline company, Mr. Araneta said, as an act of good will has already remitted 50% of its committed sponsorship budget to the league.
PFL Commissioner Coco Torre, meanwhile, shared that for this season seven teams could participate, including Ceres-Negros FC, which recently was rumored to be on its way out as it is having a hard time dealing with the pandemic.
“Ceres is still part of the PFL. We have not heard anything official from them yet,” said Mr. Torre.
The “Busmen,” though, in a statement on Wednesday said management is currently talking with investors who will be taking over the management and ownership of the club in the PFL.
The league said it has no problem with new stakeholders taking over Ceres and that they are looking forward to working with them.
Another team is also trying to enter the PFL and join the roster which includes Ceres, Kaya FC-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC, Azkals Development Team, Global FC and Mendiola FC.
It is currently working on the needed requirements to be eligible.
Mr. Torre said at this point there is no definite time frame on when the PFL season would start but they are continuously monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and would make further announcements on it when the time comes even as he said they are committed to resuming action.
“Just continue supporting the PFL. To the fans, we feel you, but football we will be back. Right now safety of everybody is primary for us and we just have to be patient,” the PFL commissioner said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo