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Eight-team PPL slated in March

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MANILA — Eight teams will make up the first season of the newly-rebooted Philippine Premier League (PPL) which will start in March this year.

The league, which will essentially take over from where the Philippines Football League left off, was officially launched on Wednesday at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati.

League commissioner Bernie Sumayao and Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta graced the press launch along with tournament director Ritchie Gannaban.

Araneta allayed speculations about how the PFF will approach the PPL as he gave Sumayao the nod to operate and even market the league.

“A vibrant domestic league is important for the growth of the game and we think the PPL has what it takes to succeed. We are all very excited,” said Araneta.

He said the PFF will be the governing body of the league.

The eight clubs, which will be finalized next month, will play in a triple-round-robin home-and-away tournament, although it will not be totally home-and-away as some matches will be played in neutral venues.

At least 11 football clubs, including former United Football League outfits, Green Archers United and Air Force, have expressed interest to join the league.

Defending champion Ceres Negros, reigning Copa Paulino Alcantara champ Kaya Iloilo, and Stallion Laguna are also expected to continue their participation in the new PPL.

Sumayao assured that the games will become livelier than ever.

“We intend to have fan engagement activities during our matches. We want PPL games to be a fun experience for everyone in the family,” said Sumayao, who bared that live music could be one of the additional features to the matches.

Unlike last season, this year’s PPL will get national television airtime as selected matches will be aired on 5 Plus with ESPN 5, the broadcasting partner which is also looking at live streaming the games. (PNA)