Football league announces changes in bubble format
The Philippines Football League (PFL) announced changes to its schedule for the upcoming 2020 season, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.
The biggest of the tweaks is the way the champion will be crowned.
Commissioner Coco Torre revealed on Wednesday night that the league just scrapped off the Final 4 format, formally called "Finals Series", as a result of a meeting among team owners on Sunday.
"They were discussing key factors such as player fatigue and physical fitness given the fact that for seven months there was no football at all," Torre said in an online press conference.
With the Finals Series ruled out, each club will only play five matches this year since the league will implement a single round-robin regular season.
While five is too few for several matches per club this year, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) secretary-general Ed Gastanes said that it would not affect the PFL's participation in next year's AFC Champions League (AFCCL).
"Because of the pandemic, both FIFA and the AFC have authorized the leagues and the NA's (national associations) to shorten the league duration. We have been told that we are free to do that without violating any regulation from FIFA and the AFC," he said.
The champion of this year's PFL season will get an outright spot in the AFCCL group stages.
With the playoffs out of the picture, the champion will be determined by the number of points the clubs amassed all season long with tiebreakers such as goal difference to be used to break deadlocks.
The runner-up, on the other hand, will enter the AFCCL qualifying phase.
Another change that was made is the schedule of Matchday 1.
The supposed doubleheader for Oct. 24 has been moved to the next day, which means the Oct. 25 fixture will have three matches.
The season opener between guest team Azkals Development Team and Mendiola will take place at 9 a.m., while the marquee clash between Kaya Iloilo and Stallion Laguna will be at 4:30 p.m.
The supposed lone game for Oct. 25 between newcomer Maharlika Manila and defending champion United City has been moved to an 8 p.m. kickoff as the nightcap of the triple-header.
The complete schedule will be released at a later date.
All matches will take place at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona as part of a bubble.
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