What went wrong with the UFL?
Since the Azkals’ AFF Suzuki Cup miracle in 2010 against Vietnam, football in the Philippines has seen its renaissance, the FIFA World Rankings soar and eventually reaching the top among ASEAN member states.
- Most of its teams are based on Metro Manila. Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its continental confederation, Asian Football Confederation (AFC), cannot consider UFL as a true legitimate league as it was under the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA).
- Filipino sports fans want fast action. Despite being a team sport like basketball, football is not a quick sport due to the focus of running and passing the ball than on scoring. Unlike basketball where timeouts happen at any time during their game play, the football’s clock will continue to run even a whistle and a penalty (red or yellow) card has been raised. Not to mention, our holding of spotlight to national football didn’t last in the sporting psyche when Gilas Pilipinas became resurgent in 2013.
- Broadcasting dilemma. Upon their inception in 2009, no broadcaster seems to care about football until the Hanoi happening. Beginning in the 2012 season, the UFL was brought up on AKTV on IBC until their non-renewal on May 31, 2013 and it was transferred to AksyonTV. During the coverage, criticism ranging from delays and signal reception to sportscasting mismanagement made Manny V. Pangilinan’s venture very hurtful.
The inaugural game plan
- The three teams hail from Metro Manila:
- FC Meralco Manila (formerly Loyola Meralco Sparks FC)* in Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila,
- Kaya FC-Makati* in University of Makati Stadium, and
- JPV Marikina* in Marikina Sports Complex
- Two will come from Luzon:
- Ilocos United in Quirino Stadium, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, and
- Stallion Laguna* in Biñan Football Stadium
- Two will represent from Visayas:
- Ceres-Negros* in Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, and
- Global Cebu* in University of San Carlos Stadium, Cebu City
- One will delegate from Mindanao: Davao Aguilas in Davao del Norte Sports Complex, Tagum
*Team carried over from UFL
An unlikely broadcaster for a prospective pro league
The inaugural weekend games:
- Saturday, May 6:
- 4:00 p.m. (LIVE): Kaya Makati F.C. vs Ceres Negros FC
- 7:00 p.m.: Stallion Laguna FC vs FC Meralco Manila
- Sunday, May 7:
- 4:00 p.m. (LIVE): Ilocos United FC vs Davao Aguilas FC
- 7:00 p.m.: JPV Marikina vs Global Cebu FC