THE Philippines’ domestic football league gets a reboot with the Philippine Premier League kicking off in March.
The PPL is expected to start with eight clubs, although there is no information yet on confirmed teams, as the country gets a new league after the Philippines Football League ceased operations after two years.
“The PPL is a new entity. It’s a rebirth. It’s a reboot,” said PPL commissioner Bernard Sumayao during the league’s official launch on Wednesday at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati. “We are in this because we have no other agenda than to see the development of the sport.”
“Right now, we have interest from 11 teams who want to participate. We are in the process of putting together all the documentation and by the 15th of February, we should be able to make that announcement on the confirmed teams,” he added.
Sumayao, a marketing man who has experience in the Thailand Football League, said PPL hopes to be sustainable. The PPL will do away with home-and-away matches and instead hold doubleheader matches in certain venues during weekends.
PPL tournament director Richard Gannaban said the PPL will also look to entice new audiences to the matches by improving fan experience in the venues.
“It is not just a football match that we want to concentrate on. It’s the football experience both inside and outside the stadium,” said Gannaban.
Gannaban also said the league will hold a triple-round robin season in order to confirm with the standards of Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta is supporting the league and hopes that with the new group in charge, the sport will gain more attention.
“I hope what we heard from Bernie will inspire you (club teams) to participate in this league. It’s a reboot… We will do our best to help in terms of promoting Philippine football, and Fifa and AFC are willing to help,” said Araneta.
ESPN5 will be the official television partner of the PPL, with one match to be shown live on 5 Plus every Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m.