With its main sponsor reiterating its commitment and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) giving the green light for training, the Philippines Football League (PFL) is brimming with optimism that it could stage its fourth season this year.

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano Araneta said the league’s backer, Qatar Airways, has already remitted half of its sponsorship money in anticipation of the league’s return after the PFL—like all sports in the country and around the globe—was forced to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Qatar Airways has already remitted 50 percent of its sponsorship of the PFL for 2020,” Araneta said. “The partnership with Qatar Airways is a good development for the growth of football; they made good on their promise to support Philippine football.”

Qatar Airways signed a three-year deal as the PFL’s main sponsor early this year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Upon the recommendation of the Games and Amusements Board, the PFL and the PBA are the only leagues so far that have been allowed to resume training by the IATF.

PFL players started undergoing RT-PCR (swab) testing since last Wednesday.

“All is well after the approval of IATF to resume training,” said PFL commissioner Coco Torre. “PFL successfully conducted the testing of the clubs as a procedural requirement for them to return to training.”

Torre said tournament regulations will also be tweaked to make sure that the league complies with AFC guidelines and schedules.

“The dynamics have always been shifting, and we are putting together the best long-term strategic plan for us to move forward,” Torre said. “If we want a more competitive and exciting league, we need more clubs as it would also mean league stability. Football in the country is still developing, that’s why we need to raise awareness, build brand equity through a good product, and entice more sponsors to the sport.” INQ

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With sponsor sticking it out, PFL has fingers crossed on fourth season