The Copa Paulino Alcantara will kick off the 2022 Philippines Football League season as the league has pushed back the tournament to 2022.
The Copa will take place from November 7 to 19 at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
The Philippine Football Federation made the announcement on Wednesday.
“As much as we would have wanted to stage the PFL season, certain key conditions were not met, which forced us to defer the league season for next year,” said PFF President Nonong Araneta.
“In its place, the PFF will stage the Copa Paulino Alcantara. We are one with the fans who miss football being played in the country during this pandemic.”
PFL Commissioner Coco Torre informed the representatives of the participating clubs on the league cancellation and the subsequent staging of the Cup during an online meeting last 18 October 2021.
PFF also informed PFL title sponsor Qatar Airways of the league cancellation due to the ongoing pandemic, with the cup serving as the only club competition for this year. The league also assured Qatar Airways that it will hold the league in the first quarter of next year.
“The Copa is a viable competition for clubs to remain physically and mentally active during these trying times while adhering to the health and safety protocols,” said Torre.
“The competition will provide healthy and compelling rivalries and at the same time will determine clubs’ performance on sporting merit.”
The Cup will consist of a group stage and a knock-out stage. The group stage will see six (6) clubs split into two groups of three with the top two teams advancing to the knockout stage while the third placed teams will square off on the Plate. The losers of the semi-final will face off in the Third Place play-off while the winners will battle in the final match.
In line with the national guidelines, the Cup will take place under a closed-circuit biomedical bubble, in compliance with the DOH-PSC-GAB Joint Administrative Order 2021-0002. This requires clubs to arrange their own accommodation with provisions for health and safety protocols while inside their respective bubbles.
“The staging of the Cup is PFF’s commitment to providing a proper and intense football competition, and livelihood to all stakeholders, particularly the players and officials,” added Gastanes.
“With Cavite slowly easing their quarantine restrictions, and the reaffirmation from the clubs to compete in the Cup, we expect a thrilling competition.”
The federation is also on the verge of securing a potential TV partner, which will broadcast the Cup match live on national television.