By Alder Almo
MANILA, Philippines – Moving to a new pitch and better coordination with the Philippine Football Federation will most likely lessen scheduling problems for the United Football League, which opens on Tuesday.
The league was forced to postpone some of its matches last season including the Cup finals due to conflict with the Azkals’ schedule and venue problems. But with the newly-built pitch at the McKinley Hill Football Field, there will now be a stable venue for the matches especially now that the league’s games will be seen twice a week on primetime TV.
UFL, where most of the Azkals play, will still be open to disrupt its schedule for the sake of flag and country only at certain conditions.
“UFL will give way to national team duties during only FIFA sanctioned games and the AFC Challenge Cup in March,” UFL chairman Santi Araneta said during the league’s press conference today at the Panggo’s Grill in Timog, Quezon City. “Other cases such as camps abroad will no longer be the league’s concern. It will be the discretion of the clubs to release the national players in such cases.”
UFL asst. technical director Ritchie Gannaban bared that the league’s schedule for the week has already been set while the rest of the season is still under evaluation pending a meeting with the Philippine Football Federation for the national team’s schedule.
The country’s top domestic football league will play all its matches in the McKinley Hill Football Field in its first week with the Tuesday and Thursday matches to be televised live over AKTV on IBC from 5 to 9 p.m. Non-televised matches will be held on Saturday and Sunday starting at 4 p.m.