Updated 17:27 PM PHT Tue, September 6, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has unveiled plans for a national football league that is slated to kick-off in March 2017.
The national league, aptly named the Philippines Football League, will be composed of at least six club teams, each representing a city or a region.
According to the PFF, the tournament is envisioned to have a home-and-away, double round robin format. The top four sides will proceed into a play-off to determine the champion.
To qualify for the league, interested clubs will have to comply with the PFF's Club Licensing Regulations to be qualified to participate in the league.
UFL still hoping to play a role
The establishment of the Philippines Football League means that the United Football League (UFL) will be stepping down as the country's premier competition.
But UFL President Randy Roxas says that he hopes that the Metro Manila-based league will still have a role to play in developing the sport in the country.
"If there is a role for us to play for us still be involved in helping football in a second division format or in the youth, we leave that to the federation to work on," Roxas said.
The UFL currently hosts the country's biggest football clubs, which currently employs Philippine national team standouts such as the Younghusband brothers and Stephan Schrock.
There are no hard feelings for Roxas, who reminded the media that the UFL's authority comes from the PFF itself.
"You have to take note that our sanction comes from the federation," Roxas said. "Everything we do in the future will come from the sanction of the federation."
Research backed venture
According to the PFF, the decision to start the league is supported by a nationwide market research conducted in 2015.
After interviewing 5,000 participants nationwide, a study by the Nielsens Company has identified key cities and reigions that could serve as an ideal starting home base for the clubs.
According to PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes some of the factors considered include infrastructure, access, capacity of fans to pay, the existence of sponsors, and fan appreciation of the sport.
Here are locations identified by the research:
- Quezon City
- Cagayan de Oro
- Zamboanga City
Apart from identifying the locations, the PFF also divulged that the study showed that 30 percent of the Philippine population followed sports in general, with five percent following football.
Interested groups have until December to submit their PFF Club Licensing Regulations for the upcoming national league.