The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will stage the Copa Paulino Alcantara beginning November 7 following the cancellation of the 2021 season of the Philippines Football League (PFL).
The PFL has decided to scrap its schedule in 2021 due to the pandemic and assured its title sponsor Qatar Airways that it will hold the 2022 season by first quarter of 2022.
PFL commissioner Coco Torre has informed the representatives of the participating clubs on the league cancellation and the subsequent staging of the Cup during an online meeting last October 18.
The cancellation paved the way for the PFF to hold its national cup competition named after Filipino football legend and recent enshrinee to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame, Paulino Alcantara.
“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,” PFF officials led by president Mariano Araneta, Jr. said in the PFL website.
“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.”
The Copa Paulino Alcantara will be held from November 7-19 with two matches played at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite every two days.
The Cup will consist of a group stage and a knock-out stage. The group stage will see six 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 in the Plate. The losers of the semi-final will face off in the third place playoff while the winners will battle in the final match.
In line with the national guidelines, the Cup will be held under a closed-circuit biomedical bubble, in compliance with the DOH-PSC-GAB Joint Administrative Order 2021-0002, with clubs required to arrange their own accommodation with provisions for health and safety protocols while inside their respective bubbles.
At this time, the PFF and PFL are closely coordinating with the clubs on their intent to compete in the Cup, especially as the competition will greatly benefit the men’s national team pool as it prepares for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 scheduled for December 2021.
“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.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES