WITH clubs in the Philippine Football League set to resume actual training today, football officials yesterday expressed cautious optimism that the long-delayed season of the PFL would be able to kick off in early October.
“Hopefully, we can have league competition 30 days from tomorrow,” said Mariano Araneta Jr., president of the Philippine Football Federation, which organizes the PFL, during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.
Joining Araneta in the forum backed by the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. San Miguel, Amelie Hotel, Smart, Braska Restaurant, Milo and Go for Gold was PFL commissioner Coco Torre, who announced that three teams will start training at the PFF national training center field in Carmona, Cavite today
“The clubs are Stallion Laguna-FC, United City FC and Kaya FC,” said Torre, adding that three more squads are scheduled to resume actual workouts tomorrow, nearly six months after all sports activities and competitions were suspended in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the country.
The fourth and 2020 edition of the PFL was supposed to begin in April but failed to push through as government authorities ordered lockdowns nationwide to stem the spread of the contagion.
The other three clubs set to train, he added, are the Azkals Development Team, Mendiola FC and Maharlika FC, the last one pending the club’s approval of its papers that were being reviewed by the league’s panel yesterday.
“Personally speaking, I believe that Maharlika has a good chance of getting approved because of the professionalism they have shown in applying for club approval,” Torre said of the club led by former national team player Anton del Rosario and actor Daniel Matsunaga.
Torre added that all the teams were set to have a briefing yesterday with Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham Mitra to discuss the health protocols in the Joint Administrative Order it issued together with the Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force last July.
The JAO contains the health guidelines that pro clubs in the PFL and PBA have to follow in actual workouts.
“We expect cooperation and compliance from all our participating teams. It will all be a matter of trust,” stressed Torre, who said that one of the ideas broached was setting up a “bubble” or one exclusive hotel for all of the participating teams once competition resumes.
“But it will all depend on the PFL’s resources, although it might not be practical in the long run because if one gets infected with the virus then all might also get infected,” he noted.