THE United Football League has renewed its support for the national team, although it will not be all out this time.
While UFL chairman Santi Araneta said on Thursday the league will continue to require its clubs to release their players who are called up for the Azkals, he was quick to add that the country’s premier football tournament will not postpone its games for the sake of the national team.
“The UFL will give way to all national team games but it will not have stoppage unless we feel that there’s a share in the audience that will be affected,” Araneta said during the press conference at Panggo’s Grill in Quezon City formally announcing the league’s opening on Tuesday.
“We are going to mandate all clubs to release any player they have for the national team forty-eight hours before the game itself, including any Fifa-sanctioned game, and the Challenge Cup,” added the UFL chairman, who also owns Kaya.
The previous season saw some postponements not only because of venue unavailability but also due to national team games held in Manila.
But with the league having its new home, the $1-million all-weather McKinley Hill Football Field in Taguig City, the league expects fewer postponements.
The UFL, though, has set a break from March 22 to 30 to give way to the Azkals' participation in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifiers in Manila.
Araneta added teams won’t be required to release players for national team camps abroad.
“It’s a case-to-case basis. The clubs will make the decision. They will not be forced. But the league must go on.”