By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE Philippines Football League (PFL) is to push through with the kickoff of its fourth season on Wednesday after inclement weather and positive cases of the coronavirus derailed the start of action at the weekend.
Happening still at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite, the PFL is to commence its two-week–long “bubble” tournament which is being presented by Qatar Airways.
Kickoff was slated to take place last Sunday but because of heavy rain and wind expected brought about by Tropical Depression “Quinta” in the playing venue, the league decided to postpone opening day matches so as to avoid any disruption.
Also cited as reason was for the PFL to have more time to deal with confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus involving two teams.
The league had reported that five players and one coach among two clubs tested positive in the reverse transcription polymerase reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted on Oct. 21.
Further tests were conducted on those with close contacts on said personnel on Oct. 24 and three returned positive.
All those that tested positive were put into isolation and further evaluated as per league protocols.
While dealing with the coronavirus cases, the league worked with the Games and Amusements Board and the city government of Santa Rosa Laguna, where the PFL’s official home for the bubble Seda Nuvali is situated, on how to go about things.
All players, coaches, and staff underwent antigen tests last Sunday and all had negative results, paving the way for the start of the season for the six-team field but less for the persons who tested positive.
The league said antigen tests will be conducted regularly every other day for the two clubs, which yielded positive results last week while pre-match day antigen tests will be conducted for the rest.
“We are happy to announce the kickoff of the 2020 PFL season on Wednesday,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta
“This is a big moment for everyone in the football community. We appreciate the collective effort from the PFF, the clubs, and most important, the Games and Amusements Board and the city government of Santa Rosa, Laguna,” he added.
Fixtures on Wednesday will see United City Football Club battle the Azkals Development Team at 4:30 p.m. and Kaya FC-Iloilo collide with Maharlika Manila FC at 8 p.m.
Other teams competing are the Stallion Laguna FC and Mendiola FC 1991.
Season four of the PFL will be done in a bubble setup for two weeks and with no fans watching.
The team on top in the end will be crowned as champion.
The PFF National Training Center is the official game venue while Seda Nuvali houses the teams and the league for the duration of the tournament.
Participants will be shuttled to and from the hotel and the game venue.
During the tournament, all clubs are asked to strictly adhere to health and safety protocols prescribed for the league.
PFL matches can be viewed over the PFL Facebook page. PFL YouTube Channel, 1Play Sports, EXPTV Channel and www.PFLTV.ph.