Ilocos United FC becomes second PFL team to withdraw from league
MANILA, Philippines - Ilocos United FC announced on Thursday, January 18, it will not compete in the 2018 Philippines Football League, becoming the second team in the past two weeks to withdraw.
The announcement comes 10 days after Meralco FC said it would fold up operations, dropping the number of teams remaining for the league's second season to 6.
Ilocos United CEO Tony Lazaro cited a number of problems, including the lack of a sponsorship and broadcasting exposure for the reasoning in a post on the team's Facebook page.
"Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful. Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL. 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," Lazaro wrote.
Lazaro said he was "cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season" if the league can secure a broadcasting deal that would help attract sponsors. While the senior team will not be competing in the PFL this coming season, Lazaro assures that other programs initiated by the club will continue.
"In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy," said Lazaro.
Ilocos United, which plays home games at Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, was one of two teams which debuted in 2017. They finished last in the 2017 League, finishing with a 1-21-6 record, with their lone victory coming against JPV Marikina on September 23, 2017.
After Meralco folded, football patron Dan Palami urged fans on Twitter to do their part to support the league financially through ticket and merchandise sales or sponsorship to prevent more teams from following suit.
“If the 2nd season is run the same way, it's almost a guarantee that more clubs will opt out,” wrote Palami. – Rappler.com