MANILA, Philippines -- It might take a while before the Philippines can be home to a professional women's football league, the country's football chief admitted.
Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, the president of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), said they are first prioritizing the amateur league and elevating the profile of women's football before thinking of putting up a pro league.
"We have a league, the PFF Women's League," Araneta said during the PSA Forum this week. "Para muna 'yun sa aming amateur eh. Siguro 'yung professional league sa women's, medyo malayo-layo pa 'yun."
Araneta's statement comes in the wake of the professionalization of the Women's National Basketball League, giving the country's female basketball players a way to continue playing after their collegiate careers are over.
The PFF Women's League, at the moment, features plenty of collegiate teams, including UAAP powerhouse De La Salle University.
According to Araneta, they want to increase the number of female players, and by extension, women's teams.
"When we have a lot of players in the pool, then we can already think of putting up a professional league," he said. "But at the moment, medyo malayo pa 'yun."
Nonetheless, Araneta assured that the PFF remains as invested as ever in women's football. FIFA has even granted the federation $500,000, solely for developing women's football in the country.
"'Yung funding was decided by the women's department," he said. "They presented it to the board, and it's now for approval of the board."
Araneta said the grant is expected to be used for the league as well as for camps for female football players.