A new hope
Philippine professional football is set to get a new lease on life when the Philippine Premier League (PPL) gets going later this March.
“It’s a rebirth,” said PPL commissioner Bernard Sumayao during the league’s official launch at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on Wednesday. The league will replace Philippine Football League (PFL), which ran for two years.
“We’re basically a reboot of the PFL. But we are a new entity and a new management. Our agenda is to be able to reach the same level as what we see around us today—that means the other leagues around the region. That is truly the goal of the PPL,” he said.
Tournament director Richard Gannaban said the PPL was targeting eight clubs for its initial year.
“We will be playing a triple round robin for the league and we will be retaining the format of Copa Alcantara,” he said.
Gannaban also noted that the adoption of Copa was for compliance to the Asian Football Confederation regulations.
He added that the new league would strive to bolster the game’s experience for the fans. After all, “it’s the fans [who] will bring football to greater heights.”
Eleven teams have signified interest in joining, including PFL Champion Ceres Negros, Copa Paulino Alcantara holders Kaya-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna and Green Archers United Globe.
“Of course, without a league, football will not flourish in the Philippines,” said Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta.
“Players look forward to play in the premier league of the country. And there’s only one league in the country and that will be the PPL,” he added.
“It’s about time we should do something in our country to be at least be on par—if not surpass—what’s happening around the region. This is the vision that the PPL has,” said Sumayao, who has been credited for the success of Thailand’s domestic league.
The league showrunner added that he looks to follow the models that have brought success in neighboring regions.
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