THE scheduled kickoff of the fourth season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Sunday did not push through as the league decided to postpone it because of inclement weather brought about by Tropical Depression “Quinta” and positive cases of the coronavirus.
In a statement shared on late Saturday, the PFL said it came to a decision to defer the start of its new season to “the next few days” as it feared heavy rains and wind because of Quinta could disrupt the three matches scheduled on Match Day 1 at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
It is also to give it time to deal with confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus among team personnel at the Seda Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna, which is the official home of the league for the two-week duration of the PFL’s fourth season.
As per the statement of the league, five players and one coach among two clubs tested positive in the reverse transcription polymerase reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted on Oct. 21. All have since been isolated.
Further tests were conducted on those with close contacts on said personnel on Oct. 24 and three returned positive.
Despite the development, PFL Commissioner Coco Torre assured there is nothing to worry about.
“We have anticipated this scenario, hence there is a set of health and safety protocols in place for incidents such as this. What is important is that all continue to adhere with the protocols, which are aimed to prevent or minimize the spread of the virus,” said Mr. Torre.
“We put emphasis on the safety of each and every individual in the bubble, whether player, staff, or match official,” PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, said for his part.
Adding, “We understand the current situation and with participants’ strict compliance with bubble-specific protocols, we hope to push through with kickoff in a few days.”
Scheduled to kick off the PFL proceedings on Sunday was a triple-header that had the Azkals Development Team going up against Mendiola FC 1991 at 9 a.m. to be followed by Stallion Laguna FC versus Kaya FC-Iloilo at 4:30 p.m. Capping off the opening day is the clash between Maharlika Manila FC and United City Football Club (formerly Ceres-Negros FC) at 8 p.m.
It was part of the reconfigured five match days for the league for the new season to adapt to the prevailing conditions with the coronavirus pandemic.
The team with the best record at the end of the match days is crowned as champion.
The tournament, presented by Qatar Airways, is to be conducted in a “bubble” setup in accordance with guidelines set by the government. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo