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Historic PFF Women’s League set to launch

The Philippines will soon be having its first-ever women’s football league. Before this year, competitive women’s football in the country has mostly been cup-type tournaments, with an elimination stage and a knockout round to determine champions.

This year marks the first time Philippine women’s football will have its very first domestic league format where champions are determined by points accumulated at the end of the season. Teams will play each other twice (in the tradition of a “home and away”) where a win equals 3 points, a draw equals 1 point, and a loss with zero points.

The league will run on weekends from November of this year until July next year. There will be a break from February until mid-May to give way to the UAAP collegiate season. During this time, a transfer window will be imposed, allowing for the movement of players.

The Rizal Memorial Stadium in Malate, Manila, will be the primary venue for the games with the Biñan Sports Complex in Laguna serving as an alternative.

The league is sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation as an amateur competition fostered through the FIFA Women’s Development Project. The PFF hopes to eventually have the league reach professional statusso it can stand on its own in the future, hinting at ushering in corporate sponsors.

Eleven 22-member teams will be competing for this year’s championship title. These teams are the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas; Fuego Espanya, Green Archers United F.C., Hiraya Football Club, Kaya Football Club, OutKast Football Club, and The Younghusband Football Academy.

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A total of fifty-five matches are expected to be played out for the inaugural season. This is a significant improvement that the PFF knows will benefit the match fitness of Filipina footballers in the long run.

“We hope that by participating in the league matches, their skill will increase, their stamina heighten,” revealed PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes during the press conference at the PFF House of Football in Pasig City last Saturday.

Gastanes is confident that this will eventually lead to a better player pool for the Philippine women’s national team for future international events, while emphasizing the overall significance of a domestic women’s league.

“We try to see what is best for further developing women’s football by way of providing [inpiration] to young players through establishing a consistent year-in year-out tournament and league for women’s football players. In fact, the increase in the number of grassroots players for girls is really fantastic that it has overtaken the boys, that is why we need to have this,” expounded Gastanes.

2016 PFF Women’s League Tournament Commissioner Cyril Dofitas proposed that the league will serve as a kind of flagship. “The women’s league is very ideal to start the program for these components of development when you talk about tournaments and competition,” Dofitas said, alluding in part to internationally-trained referees who can practice their newly learned craft through the league.

PFF Women’s Committee Chairperson Lalaine Sarmiento had a more introspective opinion of the effect that the league can have. “This is a program of the women’s department created mainly for promoting and developing women’s football. It will enable players especially girls and women to participate and at the same time thrive in the game while also achieving their professional potential in football and in society,” Sarmiento reflected.

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The 2016-17 PFF Women’s League will open on Saturday, November 12, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Written By

Mia's problem is she likes too many things. Sometimes she's an engineer, sometimes an athlete, sometimes an artist, sometimes a faux dog whisperer, sometimes an otaku, often a Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer fangirl but she most definitely is a sports enthusiast and a strong advocate of the women's game.

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