Ilocos pulls out of football league

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The stability of the Philippines Football League was put into question again after Ilocos United became the second club to withdraw from the pro league, citing financial concerns.

Ilocos announced the pullout through its Facebook account Thursday, more than a week after Meralco-Manila made a stunning decision to cease operations despite placing third in the last year’s inaugural season.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the club said. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.”

The club also citing the league’s failure to secure a broadcast right after government channel PTV 4 decided to cut ties with the league near the halfway point of the season, which would have given clubs the needed revenue to make up for the massive expenses.

Each PFL club was reportedly required to pay a franchise fee of P10 million.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition,” added the club, which didn’t rule out the possibility of returning in 2019.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

Ilocos’ departures leaves the PFL with just six teams going into the second season which is expected to start next month. They are defending champion Ceres-Negros, runner-up Global-Cebu, Stallion-Laguna, Davao Aguilas, JPV-Marikina and Kaya, which began exploring the possibility of transferring from Makati to the football hotbed of Iloilo.

Ilocos finished dead last in the PFL’s first season with just nine points in 28 matches.

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Written by Kristel Satumbaga

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