CERES FC, once known as Ceres-La Salle in its early days, gets another rebrand as United City FC as a new management took over from Leo Rey Yanson. According to reports, MMC Sports Azia, a Dubai-based sports marketing firm, is leading the new group of owners.
In 2019, MMC Sports had a tie-up with Global FC when it was about to be rebranded as Global Makati in the then Philippine Professional League (PPL) but I think that, along with the PPL itself, went into the dustbin. I hope this partnership is more successful.
Of course, some may make an issue of the new name, which may be generic for some but could elicit a smile for others—I guess Real Barca was taken?—but for me, I think the new name is just temporary. I think, down the line, the club will link up with either a local government unit or a new major sponsor that will attach its name. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be associated with the country’s best club?
I’ve heard of MMC Sports Azia, and I think the agency initiated the Business in Football conference in Manila a few years ago. The group’s move to manage a club shows its confidence in the football atmosphere in the country, a confidence boost that we all need.
When I first heard of the rumors that Ceres was folding shop, I thought about what it’s impact would be to the national teams, considering most of our players in the senior squad are with the club. So I was elated when days after the rumors started, the club released a statement that it was negotiating with new owners.
What happens now to Ceres FC?
I guess it’s safe to say Ceres the football club is gone, for now. Ceres the bus company is reeling from the economic impact and it makes sense if it is trying to minimize costs as it tries to recover.
Other businesses are trimming their lists of employees, and I’m sure Ceres letting go of operating a football club means massive savings.
However, Ceres FC isn’t only about its pro team. I know the club has youth teams also, teams that are among the best in the country. So I’m sure Leo Rey Yanson will still have limited involvement in football despite letting go of his baby.
Who knows, once the Ceres and the other businesses in the country recover—I mean, we can’t possibly be in a downward spiral until 2021, right?—maybe it will again be involved in the domestic league.
I wish United City FC luck in the PFL. Here’s to uniting the United and City fans in the country.