United Football League (Philippines)
|Number of teams||10 (Division 1)
11 (Division 2)
|Relegation to||UFL Division 2|
|Domestic cup(s)||PFF National Men's Club Championship
United Football League Cup
|League cup(s)||UFL FA Cup|
|International cup(s)||AFC President's Cup|
(2014, 2nd title)
|Most championships||Philippine Air Force
(2 titles each)
|Top goalscorer||Mark Hartmann (27 goals)|
|2014 United Football League|
The United Football League, commonly known as the UFL, is an association football league based in the National Capital Region of the Philippines, governed by the Football Alliance (FA) in partnership with United Football Clubs Association (UFCA). It is the Philippines' primary football league. To avoid the country's rainy season, the tournament is usually played from January to June each year.
The league started as semi-professional tournament in 2009. Since then, it has been described as a thriving football league, organized by former football players and aficionados. At present, it is organized by the Football Alliance, whose long-term goal is the continued development of football in the Philippines through a premier league.
Since the UFL first started, three clubs have been crowned league champions: Philippine Air Force (2), Global (2), and Stallion (1). The current champions are Global, which won the title in the 2014 season.
- 1 Competition format
- 2 History
- 3 Seasons
- 4 Past league champions
- 5 Current clubs by division
- 6 UFL Football Alliance Cup
- 7 United Football League Cup
- 8 Venues
- 9 Golden boot winners
- 10 Golden ball award
- 11 Golden glove trophy
- 12 Broadcast partners
- 13 Official match ball
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The league is composed of two divisions, both with 10 clubs playing a double round-robin format. Like most football leagues around the world, it adopts the standard point system wherein match winners receive three points and losers get none. Each club receives a point, on the other hand, if the match ends in a draw. For teams that are level in points, the following tie-breakers are applied:
- Goal difference for the entire season
- Total goals scored for the entire season
- Head-to-head results (total points)
- Head-to-head goals scored
- Head-to-head away goals scored
- Total away goals scored for the entire season
Starting the 2013 UFL season, a new promotion-relegation system will be adopted by the league. The club that finishes second in Division 2 will also have a chance to be promoted via a two-legged aggregate-goal playoff against the ninth-place team in Division 1, similar to the system used in the Bundesliga.
Qualification for Asian competitions
In January 2013, Global FC chairman Dan Palami posted a picture via Twitter of the letter of approval from Asian Football Confederation general secretary Dato Alex Soosay of his club's participation to the 2013 AFC President's Cup, which will be held from 2 to 12 May 2013 for the group stage. The team's participation marks the first time that the UFL and the Philippines will be sending a team in the cup to compete against clubs such as Taiwan Power Company, Hilal Al-Quds, and FC Dordoi Bishkek, to name a few. Global qualified and was chosen to represent the country after winning the league title in the 2012 UFL season.
In April 2013, the ASEAN Football Federation announced the creation of the ASEAN Super League, which would be an annual international association football competition between domestic clubs sides run by the AFF that would kick off in 2015.
For the 2014 AFC President's Cup, instead of the UFL, the PFF–Smart National Club Championship served as the qualifiers for the Philippines' representative. Ceres, the 2013 PFF–Smart National Club Championship champions, will represent the country in the 2014 edition of the tournament.
Origins and foundation
In September 2009, with the aim of reviving the interest of Filipinos in the sport, the Football Alliance, composed of Santi Araneta, Randy Roxas, Phil Hagedorn, Javier Mantecon, Dong Longa, Mike Camahort, Monchu Garcia, and Christopher Hagedorn, discussed the possibility of creating a football league in the Philippines. At the time, the Filipino Premier League, the country's top level football league governed by the Philippine Football Federation, has already been discontinued after its inaugural season. But instead of creating a whole system and competition, the United Football Clubs Association agreed to partner with the Football Alliance in operating the United Football League, which was then a semi-professional league.
Since its inception, the United Football League has received corporate sponsorship. After air cargo delivery service company LBC Express Inc. committed as its principal sponsor in October 2009, the league kicked off as a premier tournament composed of several football teams around the nation.
- 2009–2011: LBC (LBC United Football League)
The first season of the United Football League, officially named then as LBC United Football League for sponsorship reasons, was made possible with the aid of several local companies including the following:
The inaugural year of the league was held in 2010, and was originally composed of 16 local clubs. The 16 founding teams of the league were Philippine Air Force, Kaya, Union Manila, Loyola Agila, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Green Archers United, Mendiola United, Global, Manila Nomads, Mama Africa FC, United South FC, Sunken Garden United, Manila Lions, Japan, and Diliman.
After the end of 2011 United Football League season, AKTV Network became the new TV partner with the signing of a P150 million (~$3.4 million), 5-year deal with two live matches every week. Seven new clubs also entered the league after the successful third season of United Football Cup. Agila FC, Cebu Queen City, Diliman, Forza FC, Laos FC, Pachanga and Team Socceroo are distributed in the UFL Division 2, which started on 14 January 2012. Three clubs from the second division were also promoted to UFL Division 1, namely: Nomads, Pasargad, and Stallion FC.
In December 2011, UFL president Randy Roxas said that they have entered into discussions with the Philippine Football Federation regarding the possibility of sending the league champions to the AFC President's Cup, a third-tier club competition that is run by the Asian Football Confederation. In addition, it was also reported in 16 February 2013 that Pasargad would be the lone representative of the league and the Philippines in the 2013 AFC Futsal Club Championship qualifiers.
In April 2012, the United Football League struck a deal to use the artificial pitch that will be constructed by real estate giant Megaworld Corporation at McKinley Hill in Taguig City. The field will be known as the McKinley Hill Football Field. Work on the football field is targeted to be completed by September just in time for the start of the new season in October. This will be followed by the construction of a grandstand that can accommodate 2,000 people which they aim to finish by middle of 2013.
UFL president Randy Roxas announced in December 2012 the completion of the McKinley Hill football field in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. According to Roxas, the $1-million artificial pitch will be the new home of the league starting the 2013 UFL season. The field was built in partnership with Megaworld Corporation, and is said to be up to FIFA standards. The first two weeks of the tournament, which includes the opening games scheduled on 5 February 2013, will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, but most of the matches of the league will be played at the newly constructed artificial pitch after Chinese New Year. The league started to use the facility, dubbed Emperador Stadium, in 9 February 2013. The first league game in the stadium, Dolphins United versus Cebu Queen City United, got cancelled as the latter forfeited the match. The second match slated for the same day, Philippine Air Force against Nomads FC, became the first official league game in the stadium. Nomads FC won, 1–0, against Philippine Air Force.
In an effort to hold matches outside Metro Manila, United Football League marketing manager Coco Torre confirmed in 30 January 2013 that the league is discussing with its broadcast partner, AKTV, the possibility of staging a few games in the provinces. UFL assistant technical director Ritchie Gannaban further explained the possibility of staging at least two provincial matches during the second round of the tournament, which could be either played at the Cebu City Sports Complex, Cebu City or at Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City.
In cooperation with the Philippine Football Federation, the league directed its referees to undergo a training module to better their decision making and player management. The training was facilitated by Football Association of Singapore committee member Augustine Arlando, a former FIFA match official, and Football Association national referee tutor Dave Roberts.
The regular season of the United Football League is composed of two competitions, namely: the United Football Cup, a knockout-tournament that allows clubs to participate regardless of their division, and the league, which are separate round-robin tournaments for clubs in the first division and second division.
The association football season in the Philippines is from November to July, the driest months of the year. The UFL has a similar season schedule as the Philippine Basketball Association, with two competitions following one after the other: the cup competition and the league competition. The cup competition runs from November to December, while the league runs from January to July. Therefore, the two competitions in a season happen in separate calendar years:
Note: The 2009 UFL Cup was created to determine the composition of teams that will be playing in the league.
Past league champions
UFL Division 1
|2010||Philippine Air Force||Kaya||Union FC|
|2011||Philippine Air Force||Global||Philippine Army|
|2012||Global||Kaya||Loyola Meralco Sparks|
|2013||Stallion||Global||Loyola Meralco Sparks|
|2014||Global||Loyola Meralco Sparks||Kaya|
UFL Division 2
|2010||Global||Manila Nomads||Mama Africa F.C.|
|2012||Pachanga||Diliman FC||Cebu Queen City United|
|2013||Team Socceroo||Union Internacional Manila||Forza|
|2014||Ceres||Manila Jeepney||Philippine Air Force|
Current clubs by division
The following clubs will be competing in the United Football League 2015 season based on the recently concluded 2014 season:
UFL Division 1
|Club||Head Coach||Team captain||Kitmaker||Shirt sponsor||2014 position|
|Ceres||Ali Go||Jason Cordova||Adidas||Ceres Liner||Promoted|
|Global||Leigh Manson||Jason de Jong||AtletA||KIA||1st|
|Green Archers United||Rodolfo Alicante||Christian Pasilan||LGR Athletic||Globe Telecom||4th|
|Kaya||David Perkovic||Alexander Borromeo||LGR Athletic||LBC Express, Inc.||3rd|
|Loyola Meralco Sparks||Vincent Santos||James Younghusband||LGR Athletic||Meralco||2nd|
|Manila Jeepney||Kale Alvarez||Mark Alvin Valeroso||LGR Athletic||Cord Epoxy||Promoted|
|Pachanga Diliman||Noel Marcaida||Davide Cortina||Umbro||PLDT HOME Fibr
|Philippine Army||Ricky Cain||Roel Gener||LGR Athletic||Artificial Turf Sejung||7th|
|Stallion||Ernest Nierras||Ruben Doctora Jr.||Mizuno||Giligan's Island Bar and Grill||5th|
|Team Socceroo||Franklin Cacacho||Enzo Pinga||LGR Athletic||Vcargo worldwide||8th|
UFL Division 2
|Founded||2009 (as a semi-pro league)|
|Number of teams||12|
|Promotion to||UFL Division 1|
|Domestic cup(s)||PFF National Men's Club Championship|
|League cup(s)||UFL Cup|
|Current champions||Ceres (1st title)
(1 title each)
|2014 United Football League|
The United Football League Division 2, often referred to as UFL Division 2, is the second-highest division overall in the football league system in the Philippines. The second division was introduced for the 2010–11 season. The winner of the UFL Division 2 gets an automatic promotion to the league's first division while the second placer will go against the ninth placer of division one in a two legged playoff for a slot in the first division the next season. Manila Nomads won the first-ever UFL Division 2 title, and the club was promoted to the UFL Division 1 the following season along with season runner-up Stallion FC and third placer Pasargad.
During the 2012 UFL season, Pachanga was crowned the UFL Division 2 champion. The club finished at the top of the second division, which secured the team's promotion to the UFL Division 1. Freddy Gonzalez, Pachanga FC's resident striker, was awarded the golden boot of the UFL Division 2 for the 2012 season. Thus, Pachanga replaced the relegated Navy in the first division.
Further, the UFL Division 2 kicked off its first match between Dolphins United and Cebu Queen City United on February 9, 2013 at the Emperador Stadium, but Cebu Queen City United did not show up in the game time. On March 1, 2013, the UFL management has officially ruled out Cebu Queen City United from participating after the club apparently withdrawn when the club’s request for home games was turned down by the league.
At the start of the 2012 UFL season, the UFL Division 2 has been expanded to 12 football clubs. Most of the matches for the second division were held at the Turf@BGC, a venue with an artificial football pitch located at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
For the 2014 UFL season, the Manila Nomads voluntarily stepped down from the first division to play in Division 2 due to the club's inability to comply with Division 1's foreigner cap rule. This rule dictates that there should be a minimum of six Filipino players on the pitch at all times. In addition, Manila Jeepney and Ceres made therr debut at the league's second division during the same season.
|Club||Head Coach||Team captain||Kitmaker||Shirt sponsor||2014 position|
|Agila||Ramon Vicente Roxas||Olayemi Bakare||LGR Athletic||Blue Booters||9th|
|Cimarron||Stephen Permanes||Eric Yosse||Umbro||KMC MAG Group||12th|
|Dolphins United||Ravelo Saluria||Jeremiah James Clemente||Botak||SiKLO Pilipinas||11th|
|Forza||Jun Mark Saraga||Allan Auman||LGR Athletic||Orient Freight||6th|
|Laos||Mehdi Soltani||Rolly Lear||LGR Athletic||5th|
|Manila All-Japan||Shinichiro Maeno||Yuki Tanaka||LGR Athletic||JK Mart||4th|
|Manila Nomads||Alasdair Thomson||Randy Musters||AtletA||7th|
|Pasargad||Mike Agbayani||Jay Torres||LGR Athletic||Relegated|
|Philippine Air Force||Edzel Bracamonte||Ian Araneta||LGR Athletic||3rd|
|Philippine Navy||Narciso Rosima||Jose Alfie Caminos||LGR Athletic||DPY Mercantile Inc.||10th|
|Union Internacional Manila||Dan Padernal||Ivan Meilan||LGR Athletic||Rudy Project||8th|
Note: The two bottom-placed teams will be removed from the league to give way for other teams a chance to compete, although they may qualify for the 2013 UFL Cup.
Foreign football players who have played for United Football League clubs include the following:
- Cebu Queen City United
- Mama Africa FC
- Manila Lions
- Mendiola United
- Sunken Garden United
- United South FC
UFL Football Alliance Cup
The United Football League Football Alliance Cup, also known as the UFL FA Cup. In 21 June 2012, UFL officials announced that it will introduce a new tournament to its calendar around May of the 2013 United Football League season. Originally, the UFL Super Cup was supposed to feature 10 teams from the UFL Division 1 and the top six clubs from its second division. A maximum of five foreign players would be allowed for each club during the inaugural tournament, and this number would be reduced to four players the succeeding years.
In 22 April 2014, it was officially announced that the planned UFL Super Cup will commence after the 2013 UFL season, and will be held annually after the end of each league competition. As for its participants, the top six clubs of the first division will compete in this knockout tournament. UFL president Randy Roxas said that the Super Cup was supposed to include foreign teams competing against the league and cup champions. However, he explained that inviting foreign teams became too expensive. The league champion and runner-up will receive byes to the cup's semi-finals, while the other four clubs will compete in two-legged knockout games.
United Football League Cup
The United Football League Cup, also known as the UFL Cup, is an association football competition in the Philippines that runs from mid-October to mid-December. The cup is a single-elimination tournament where clubs from both divisions of the United Football League are eligible to compete. In addition, the competition is also open to local clubs in the country that have passed the requirements set by the Football Alliance.
The UFL Cup was first held on October 2009, sanctioned by the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF). The cup was formed to determine the distribution of clubs over the Divisions 1 and 2 of United Football League in its inaugural season. Clubs were divided into four groups of four, the top two finishers of each group after single round-robin elimination qualified for quarterfinals (for division one) and the bottom 2 battles for Plate Competition (for division two).
Winners and runners-up
|Club||Champions||Years won||Runners-up||Years lost|
|Philippine Air Force||
|Loyola Meralco Sparks||
Top goal scorers
|2009||Yanti Barsales||Philippine Air Force||
|2010||Izzeldin El Habbib||Global FC||
|2011||Phil Younghusband||Loyola Meralco Sparks||
|2012||Phil Younghusband||Loyola Meralco Sparks||
|2013||Phil Younghusband||Loyola Meralco Sparks||
After defeating Loyola Meralco Sparks in the finals, Philippine Air Force were crowned the 2011 UFL Cup champions. For the 2012 edition of the cup, 28 clubs would compete into four groups of five and in two stages. Clubs from the UFL Division 2, along with other guest teams, would comprise the first stage of the cup. Teams from the UFL Division 1, on the other hand, would be included in the second stage. Afterwards, the top 10 clubs would move on to the knockout stage of the 2013 PFF National Men's Club Championship.
Primary venues used in the United Football League:
|Rizal Memorial Football Stadium||Emperador Stadium||University of Makati Stadium|
|Capacity: 12,873||Capacity: 2,000||Capacity: 4,000|
|Alabang Country Club||Turf BGC, Bonifacio Global City||Nomads Field|
|Capacity: N/A||Capacity: N/A||Capacity: 3,000|
Golden boot winners
Golden ball award
The UFL Golden Ball Award is the league's equivalent for the Most Valuable Player award. The award has been given since the 2012 season after the league's expansion to two divisions. Spanish–Filipino footballer Carli de Murga of Global was awarded the first Golden Ball for the first division. Freddy Gonzalez of Pachanga, on the other hand, won it the same year for the second division.
Golden glove trophy
Official match ball
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