IF THERE’S a football league that will suffer the least from the pandemic-related disruptions, that would be the 2020 Philippines Football League.
The reason, ironically, is that the fledgling league has suffered enough, having gone through its most trying stages over the last few years.
With the number of clubs streamlined at bare minimum and venues held mostly in Luzon, the PFL will have little to adjust to and even less to lose this pandemic season, compared to neighboring leagues that have more teams with far broader patronage and continually face the threat of financially crippling Covid-related shutdowns.
Many thought the PFL would have folded by now, following the demise of pandemic-hit champions Ceres FC and blacklisted Global FC.
But what doesn’t kill a league makes it stronger, and this PFL just refuses to call it a day, thanks to the stakeholders who persist in lifting the league and the sport with it.
And so, despite being postponed twice due to the pandemic and questions about its future, the PFL will finally kick off on Oct. 24 at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
For the entire tournament, all six clubs and officials will be secured in a bubble setting at Seda Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and will only be allowed to leave during matches and training at the Carmona facility.
The PFL will also go through yet another format change: a single round robin elimination followed by a finals series.
The most reassuring thing about this season is that sponsor Qatar Airways has committed to supporting the league, which will now be officially known—hold your breath—as “The 2020 Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways.”
As of this writing, the Philippine Football Federation is just awaiting the go signal from the Games and Amusements Board and the Department of Health.
Fans of the Azkals Development Team, Kaya-Iloilo, Maharlika Manila, Stallion Laguna, Mendiola 1991, and United FC, though, would be thrilled to know where they can watch the PFL matches from their homes.