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Ceres Negros re-branded as United City as MMC-led group completes takeover

Call this club United City from hereon. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--New owner, new name.

The club formerly known as Ceres Negros will now be known as United City Football Club after a group of investors led by MMC Sportz Asia formally agreed in terms with former team owner Leo Rey Yanson regarding the proprietorship transfer.

“We will now immediately apply for the permission with the PFF to rename the club to 'United City Football Club' and request the PFF to support our statement of intent to continue participating in the AFC Cup,” Eric Gottschalk, MMC's chief executive officer, said in a statement on Thursday.

The investment group will inherit a franchise which has won all the three PFL titles since its inception in 2017, the 2018 ASEAN Zone champion of the AFC Cup, and the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara winner.

“We would like to honor the legacy which Mr. Yanson created when he founded the Ceres Negros club and we will try to continue the development of Philippines football, especially the professional league and the national team,” Gottschalk continued. “We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season.”

Although he did not disclose the names of those staying, Gottschalk announced that United City will still be keeping the core of the lineup that is playing in the AFC Cup.

"We are proud to also announce that we have received the commitment 16 of the original 21 registered Ceres Negros players (not including James Younghusband who has retired recently from football), to play for the new club with more details to be shared in the coming days," he further said, adding that Risto Vidakovic stays as head coach and Ace Bright remains as general manager.

It remains unknown if United City will still represent Bacolod.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_