FOLLOWING the release of the administrative order granting professional leagues to resume training, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said it welcomes the development and looks forward to kicking things off.

Received the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) from pertinent government agencies to resume training on Monday, the PFF is now working on the next step towards the resumption of activities for the sport here.

The JAO came from the Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health and the Philippine Sports Commission and contains the implementing guidelines governing the conduct of professional and nonprofessional sports training while the country is under community quarantine brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We thank the Games and Amusements Board, chaired by Mr. Abraham Mitra, Philippine Sports Commission, led by Chairman William Ramirez, and the Department of Health, under Secretary Hon Francisco Duque III, for signing the JAO which allows professional teams to train,” said PFF President Mariano Araneta, Jr. in a statement upon receipt of the administrative order.

“We look forward to the clubs to prepare for the PFL 2020 season,” he added, referring to the local pro league Philippines Football League (PFL), whose affairs are being overseen by the PFF.

Now having the go-ahead, the PFF said it is set to implement health and safety protocols to have its push for some normalcy to succeed, including the staging of the fourth season of the PFL.

Among the guidelines it is laying down for stakeholders to follow are only individuals who tested negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to resume training; only a maximum of ten (10) persons will be allowed to attend team training; after the set of ten (10) persons finishes their training session, a thirty (30)-minute gap will be observed before another set of ten (10) persons may train; and inter-zonal travel is strictly prohibited.

For the PFL, all the clubs must adhere to the protocols set by the PFF in the “PFF Operations Protocol for the Philippines Football League” it submitted to the Inter- Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The PFF National Training Center inside the San Lazaro Leisure and Business Park in Carmona, Cavite, will serve as the training venue for all participating PFL teams.

The PFL was supposed to start its season in March but because of the pandemic it was forced to delay it to a still-to-be-determined date.

Despite the delay, the league, which has Qatar Airways as a partner for its new season, expressed readiness to get it going once conditions permit it to do so. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo