The past couple of days have been quite eventful for Filipino football. As newly rebranded United City FC said farewell to longterm head coach Risto Vidakovic and welcome Englishman Trevor Morgan to their fold, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) have welcomed Maharlika Manila FC into the Philippine Football League (PFL) for the 2020 season. At the same time, the PFF have also suspended the license of fallen giants Global FC for 90 days following their failure to settle their overdue payables to their players and staffs.
Financial problems and Global go hand-in-in hand in recent years ever since the club was sold by Dan Palami in 2018 and 2020 saw the problems at the club enter unspeakable levels. Global, who were playing in the AFC Cup as recently as 2018 (which included a match against Indonesia’s Bali United, as pictured in this article), were reportedly taken over by Hong Kong-based company Mazinyi Management Ltd prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The takeover by new owners saw a number of players such as Misagh Bahadoran, Yannick Tuason, Gilmar, and Jordan Jarvis joining the club and it seems that Global have finally started to inch their way out of their financial woes.
However, on July of this year, former Manchester United youngster John Cofie, who had signed for Global on January, spoke publicly about how the club has yet to pay his wages. Cofie was soon joined by graphic designer Saya Jaruda, who went on Facebook to air his grievances regarding his unpaid wages. The PFF acted quickly and gave Global a 10-day ultimatum to settle all of their outstanding wages and other financial obligations to their players and staff. Global did sort things out with Jaruda, however the 2017 PFL runners-up failed to settle their issues with their players and staffs after the 10-day period has ended. To make matters worse, Mazinyi distanced themselves from the ailing club, citing issues with the necessary documents as the reason behind them pulling out from their takeover.
The Philippine Games and Amusement Board (GAB) gave Global another 10 days to settle their issues with their players and staffs as well as giving an explanation behind the salary woes, however Global failed to respond to them during that period. This prompted the PFF to take action and suspend the club’s license for 90 days. The federation warned Global that should they fail to sort their finances out and pay what they owe to their players and staffs within this 90-day period, the PFF will revoke Global’s PFL license – meaning that they’re ineligible to participate in the 2020 PFL season and any attempts from Global to renew their license will be denied.
PFF Welcomes Maharlika to the PFL
In other, happier news for Filipino football, the much-anticipated announcement of Maharlika Manila’s participation in the upcoming 2020 PFL season has finally arrived on Tuesday. Following a meeting with Maharlika’s representatives, the PFL announced that they’ve granted the newly-formed club a provisional license for the 2020 season – meaning that they will be part of the 2020 PFL lineup.
“They (Maharlika) are a very enthusiastic group and I see great potential with them because they have a vision which is aligned with ours. The way they plan to market their club will also help bring awareness and following to the league aside from their competitive attitude,” said PFL commissioner Coco Torre to Business World on Tuesday.
Maharlika gained a significant online following during the suspension of football brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the club posting a number of training videos on their social media channels as well as interacting with fans for their opinions on how the club should be run. Maharlika adopted the motto “Koponan ng Masa” – the People’s Club, which signify the importance of the club’s fans in important decision-making processes. The club was founded by former Philippines national team defender Anton del Rosario, who also serves as a player for the club. Roxy Dorias will serve as Maharlika’s inaugural head coach, while the club’s lineup contain Brazilian-Japanese actor/model/footballer Daniel Matsunaga, veteran Filipino midfielder Simon Greatwich, and former Global duo Misagh and Jerry Barbaso.
Maharlika will join United City, Mendiola FC 1991, Stallion Laguna, Kaya FC-Iloilo, and fellow newcomers Azkals Development Team (ADT) in the upcoming 2020 PFL season, with the league expecting an October kick-off. Currently the league’s other five teams are undergoing training in preparation for the new season at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, with the Maharlika players expected to join them soon should they clear their COVID-19 tests.