IT IS a sad day for Philippine football as FC Meralo Manila has officially ceased operations, the club announced late Monday in a statement.
One of the most prominent football clubs in the country, the club had a solid 11-year run after being founded in 2006 as the Loyola Agila Football Club before being acquired by Meralco in 2011.
“Circumstances beyond our control have made it difficult for FC Meralco Manila to continue,” the statement read. “The board and management of the Sparks have tried to arrange for new investors that would keep the organization running, but those efforts have sadly fallen short.”
Meralco's pullout also comes as a major blow to the Philippine Football League (PFL), a league that had a promising start last year but is now reduced to seven teams starting next season.
From being one of the founding teams in the now defunct United Football League in 2010, the club continued to gain traction with its acquisition of big names such as Phil and James Younghusband alongside Mark, Matt and Darren Hartmann. Since then, the club has won the 2013 UFL Cup and the PFF National Club Championships in 2015.
After the demise of the UFL, the club joined the PFL in 2017, calling Manila as its home.
The Sparks were widely successful in the inauguration of the national league as they snagged the first seed in the table after the 28-game elimination round despite losing the Younghusband brothers midway through the season.
They looked poised to make it to the finals but conceded late goals in their home-away meeting against the fourth-seeded Global Cebu FC in the semifinals.
The club said it is actively searching for new teams for its players while the Youth academy also faces uncertainty.
“The management of the team is currently in the process of searching for new teams for our players. These amazing athletes and people deserve to continue plying their trade and we will do all in our power to find them new clubs.”