Mariano Nonong Araneta, the President of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), is hopeful that the Philippines Football League (PFL) may be back in mid-July.
The Philippines government has eased lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday when they placed the entire Metro Manila under a General Community Quarantine.
With badminton, golf and also tennis back in action provided certain health guidelines are adhered to, Araneta feels confident that football may be given certain leeway.
“I don’t see any reason why we cannot also open our league since countries that have been badly hit by the pandemic like Spain and Germany have opened their leagues,” said Araneta to www.dugout.ph.
“I have been talking to fellow ASEAN federations and the other member federations in Asia. We have been exchanging notes with regards to the protocols that we have to set in order for the games to commence or resume.”
Araneta said that the PFF has already drafted a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which they plan to present to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) this week before getting the final approval from Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
“If the protocols are approved, teams may be allowed to practice beginning 15 June. If there are no cases of COVID-19 (on the players or staff or team officials) within three weeks of practice sessions, then it is safe to open the league. If the decision of the GAB and IATF is favourable to us, PFL will open on 15 July,” he said.
However, Araneta indicated that the playing venues for the PFL will have to be adjusted considering that the Rizal Memorial Stadium and also the Binan Football Stadium will not be able to be used considering their proximity to COVID-19 treatment facilities.
“The PFF National Training Centre in Carmona is the venue that we are looking at as soon as we have the green light to start the league,” Araneta added.
“It’s a big thing that we do have a sponsor that is also sponsoring the FIFA World Cup. It’s like a big boost for the country that we do have Qatar Airways backing our league. They told me that they are still willing to sponsor us and that they are just waiting for our advice on when will the PFL commence.”