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PFL set to start next year

Kaya and Loyola, known UFL powerhouses, are likely to grace the inaugural season of the PFL. (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--Call it the Philippines Football League.

The much-anticipated national soccer tournament which features clubs representing cities in a home-and-away format will commence as scheduled in 2017.

In fact, the countdown to the start of the football version of the defunct basketball league MBA began on Tuesday as the PFF met the top officials of the UFL clubs at the Marco Polo Hotel to discuss how the PFL will look like.

The PFF's top honchos, President Nonong Araneta and General Secretary Ed Gastanes, then met the media in a press conference shortly after the general briefing along with Loyola vice chairman Randy Roxas, who is named into the task force dedicated for the said league.

On how they came up with the said name, Gastanes said, "The Nielsen Company was commissioned last year to conduct a national market survey with more than five thousand respondents, and [after being asked about their suggestion for the league name] the name that was preferred by [more] fans is the Philippines Football League."

The said survey also listed the top cities that can be viable hosts to the PFL games, namely Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Marikina, Bocaue, Angeles, BiƱan, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan De Oro, and Zamboanga.

But while the said areas are the priorities in terms of staging home games for the PFL, Gastanes clarified, "It does not mean that a club may not nominate another city as its home base," implying that small market cities can put up a PFL club as long as they comply to the PFF Club Licensure Regulations that were made public through the PFF website on Tuesday as well.

The PFL, which hopes to bring in at least six teams in its inaugural staging, will have a similar format to that of the A-League and the MLS.

Clubs will lock horns in a double-round-robin regular season format.

The top four teams of the regular season will then play in the playoffs, called the "finals series", where the league champion will be crowned.

Two more technical meetings will take place in Cebu and Davao.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno