By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
AFTER a long wait, Qatar Airways was finally introduced as official title sponsor of the Philippines Football League (PFL).
This, after the airline and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) inked the three-year deal that will see Qatar Airways be a sponsor and airline partner of the local football league that will enter its fourth season beginning in March.
Signing for the PFF was its General Secretary Edwin Gastanes while for Qatar Airways it was group Chief Executive His Excellency Akbar Al Baker in ceremonies held in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, Jan. 26.
It was late last year that news circulated that Qatar Airways was to throw its support behind the PFL, something stakeholders were excited about, seeing how the support would give the league more flexibility in enhancing its offering and how it is presented.
“We thank Qatar Airways for their willingness to help bolster Philippine football by establishing a partnership with PFF as Airline Partner and Title Sponsor of the PFL,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. in a statement as he welcomed the newly forged partnership.
“The PFF, together with Qatar Airways, will pave the way in forging the sustainability of professional club football in the country,” added the PFF president, who was given a fresh term in elections held in November.
Long before supporting the PFF and PFL, Qatar Airways was already a staunch backer of the sport of football, signing agreements with world-governing body FIFA as partner for FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019.
It is a sponsor as well of professional football clubs AS Roma, CA Boca Juniors, and FC Bayern Munich.
The PFL, for its part, was established in 2017, aimed at fostering a vibrant professional league where players can showcase what they are capable of for possible consideration for the national team as well as make a career from.
Clubs playing in the league adhere to the PFF Club Licensing Regulations.
In the first three seasons of the PFL, Bacolod-based Ceres-Negros FC was crowned champion.