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PFL hopeful 2021 season kickoff pushes through later this month

THE PFL is targeting to have the new season start on Oct. 27, provided certain conditions are met. — PFL

IF things go as planned, the 2021 season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) could kick off before the month of October ends.

As per its posting on its official website, the PFL is targeting to have the new season start on Oct. 27, provided certain conditions are met.

“PFF is committed to having the PFL 2021 season this year when conditions permit,” said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) General-Secretary Edwin Gastanes. “We understand how also important the league is for the clubs, sponsors, and football fans.”

Recognizing that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still a concern, the PFL will be holding a centralized competition at the PFF National Training Center under a “semi-bubble,” where participants’ movements will be limited to hotel/home to tournament venue and back.

The league is currently awaiting word from the Carmona local government unit for the go-ahead, hoping that the quarantine status in the area is lowered to the less strict General Community Quarantine (GCQ) so action can proceed.

“We wait for updates on Carmona. We will proceed if it is under GCQ since the clubs have to be in the bubble [before the targeted start],” said Coco Torre, PFL commissioner, in a text message to BusinessWorld.

“We are already mobilizing our local organizing committee for the possible kickoff already,” he added.

Carmona is under the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until Oct. 15.

As it awaits further development, the league is encouraging competing clubs, which could be as high as seven, Mr. Torre said, to ensure players are match fit come the targeted kickoff date.

Clubs, too, must provide the league with their proposed accommodation venues for the bubble setup, with provisions for health and safety protocols to be imposed while inside the bubble.

One of the clubs set to compete is Dynamic Herb Cebu FC, which is excited to showcase its wares in the PFL.

“So far, so good. The players are peaking and we’re almost at 90 percent,” Dynamic Herb head coach Oliver Colina was quoted as saying by SunStar Cebu.

Mr. Torre said the arrival of Cebu FC is a “very big development.”

“Cebu FC has very big plans from the senior league all the way to the grassroots and they have exemplary programs and the right kind of infrastructure. We are very much looking forward to their participation in the PFL,” he said.

The PFL last played in November 2020 with United City Football Club (UCFC) emerging as champion.

It was angling to start the 2021 season much earlier this year, but it was forced to defer the kickoff because of the unpredictable situation of the pandemic.

The league is looking to complete the new season before the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 happening from Dec. 1, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022.

“The PFL season 2021 kickoff remains a primary objective,” assured Mr. Torre. “The staging of the season will help preserve the livelihood of the players, staff, officials and determine the League Standings based on sporting merit.” — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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