MANILA, Philippines – The United City Football Club (UCFC) broke its silence after a stretch of inactivity on Thursday, February 16, announcing that it is withdrawing from the Philippines Football League (PFL) due to financial issues involving its Singapore-based investor Riau Capital Live (RCL).
UCFC, a known powerhouse in the PFL that once housed stars like national team legend Stephan Schrock and naturalized player Bienvenido Marañon, currently sits in second place at the ongoing PFL season with a 7-3 record, just behind top-ranked Kaya FC (10-0).
“UCFC had signed a major agreement with RCL, a Singapore based real estate & sports investment entity in mid 2021, which the same company finally defaulted under in October 2022,” its statement read.
“Since RCL also failed to honor the agreed final settlement deadlines earlier this month, it has now forced UCFC to temporarily discontinue its professional football team operations and to withdraw its team from remainder of the 2022/23 PFL season.”
Caught in the middle of the team’s predicament, the PFL and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) begrudgingly accepted its withdrawal and look to address what happens with its past and future games.
“We are saddened that United City have decided to withdraw from the league,” said PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “While the club has reiterated its desire to compete in future seasons, it must sort out its situation first before making their return to league action.”
“We hope that the club and its management are able to bounce back from this predicament,” added PFF president Mariano Araneta.
United City took over the famed Ceres-Negros Football Club in 2020, rising in popularity after winning the championship that year and qualifying outright for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League group stages.
But the club’s fortunes turned around the past months and it now “awaits the outcome of legal proceedings” after also releasing its players and staff.
“UCFC would like to state that all players and staff were already released from their contracts immediately after the first half of the 2022/23 PFL season and that all but one have signed new agreements with other clubs in the Philippines and abroad,” the team statement said. – Rappler.com
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