THE Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways announced on Saturday that it is kicking of its league competition on July 17 while cancelling the Copa Paulino Alcantara due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta said the PFL will proceed with the season after the June 2021 window where the Azkals will compete in the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers in China.
The PFL had planned to hold the Copa Paulino Alcantara in April.
United City FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo will also compete in that same window in the AFC Champions League group stage and playoff.
“The (Copa Paulino Alcantara) will not push through this year because of the current situation,” Araneta said. “We decided that we will proceed with the league by 17 July when we have the vaccines rolled out already.”
PFF secretary general Edwin Gastanes said the clubs have been informed about the schedule.
“We understand the situation the clubs are facing during these challenging times. With a scheduled kickoff date of 17 July, the clubs will be able to plan accordingly for another exciting PFL season,” Gastanes said.
Araneta said the PFF also plans to acquire vaccines for the league’s players and officials once it becomes available.
“The players are welcome to be vaccinated as it is protection with them. We’re giving them a choice as PFF will be spending for the vaccines. I’m confident that they will accept these vaccines,” said Araneta.
PFL commissioner Coco Torre said the league is targeting 28 to 84 matches, with the expansion from six to eight clubs.
“Last year, clubs were only able to play five matches in the bubble season. With the vaccine set to roll out this year, we look forward to giving the clubs more competitive matches to keep the players physically fit, which will benefit our clubs participating at the domestic level, international competitions, and our national team,” said Torre.