The Philippine Football League is getting ready to accept new teams.
PFL commissioner Bernie Sumayao said this following the withdrawal of the Davao FC Aguilas last week.
“I have been informed about the withdrawal of the Davao Aguilas, and have received it with a heavy heart. When an important team departs the league, it is always a cause of concern. However, we have also been approached by a number of teams that have expressed strong interest in joining the PPL,” said Sumayao.
He said they are currently evaluating the merits of each applicant, and the Aguilas’ pullout has left them with five teams.
The league will also be rebranded into the Philippine Premier League during the 2019 season.
The league needs to take very good care and listen intently to the concerns of its stakeholders – the Federation, the owners of the teams, the players, and most importantly, the fans,” said Sumayao.
He said he believes that the fans are the fuel that drives the engine.
“Without the fans, even the most organized league will never survive,” Sumayao went on.
“When I first approached the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) about taking over the reins of the PFL, I knew about the difficult challenges that it was facing. I felt, like most football fans, that the league was at a crossroads,” said Sumayao.
The PFF is the governing body of association football in the Philippines. The PFL is a Filipino professional association football league sanctioned by the PFF.
The Aguilas, through team owner Jefferson Cheng, had top players from the national team the past two years, including Phil and James Younghusband.
Uncertainties on the coming season were among the reasons why the Aguilas left the PFL.
For now, the club will focus on grassroots development in Mindanao.
Sumayao said the was no revenue being generated, no national sponsorship, no TV media, limited attendance at the stadiums, numerous restrictions being enforced on fan activity inside the stadiums, and many more factors that challenged the very existence of the league.
“I knew there was no ‘quick fix’, and that the road to recovery will take some time. I also knew that in order to get back on track, we have to have a more professional and structured approach to operating the league,” said Sumayao.