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PFL now eyeing August start says PFF chief Araneta

The PFL may finally begin on Aug. 15 regardless of the uncertainty clouding Ceres Negros at the moment. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The PFL is now gearing toward possibly starting its next season by August following the approval of the practice protocols for professional teams.

"Hopefully, by August 15, magsimula na kami," PFF president Nonong Araneta told Radyo Pilipinas 2's Aaron Bayato in an interview on Monday.

In a prior interview, Araneta wanted a July 15 start to the 2020 PFL season, but with the recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, the commencing of the league has been essentially pushed a month further assuming it will indeed start by August 15.

For that to happen, according to Araneta, the PFF will meet again with the IATF to discuss the protocols for professional matches to begin.

Before that, the PFF will submit a report to GAB regarding how the first two to three weeks of training took place among the member clubs, defending champion Ceres Negros, Kaya Iloilo, Stallion Laguna, Mendiola, Air Force, Global Makati, and newcomer Azkals Development Team.

All clubs will undergo swab testing starting on Wednesday, and only those players tested negative will be allowed to train.

Only 10 persons can train for one hour with an option to practice in groups of five. After a 30-minute gap, another set of 10 people can begin their drills.

Close contact drills like tackling and set pieces are not yet allowed at this stage of practices.

In a statement on Tuesday, Stallion Laguna president and head coach Ernie Nierras said that the club will begin training on July 15, exactly a month from the target PFL start.

Meanwhile, Araneta said that the league is on "status quo" regarding the future of Ceres Negros.

As rumors continue to swirl that the club could fold up mainly due to the row within the Yanson Family, he clarified that Ceres Negros has yet to make an official communication regarding it.

But in a positive sign, Araneta bared that the club was represented in an online meeting with the other PFL teams also on Monday.

"At the moment, status quo pa rin," he said.

Regardless of what the future may hold for the defending champion, Araneta assured, "Tuloy naman yung liga," even hinting that another club from Luzon could join very soon.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno