By Adrian Stewart Co
United City Football Club has blamed former franchise owner Ceres-Negros FC for its decision not to participate in the 2021 Copa Paulino Alcantara at the Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
In a statement on Monday evening, United City FC said they were forced to withdraw as their participation could affect the outcome of the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup nominations of the other teams involved.
“With sadness, we took this step, especially since our players and staff have been preparing for our return to local competitions, following our participation in the AFC Champions League last July,” the United City FC said.
Ceres-Negros, a three-time PFL champions and 2017 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal champions, was purchased by Eric M. Gottschalk’s Dubai-based MMC Sportz Asia from Bacolod sports patron Leo Rey Yanson.
The franchise was renamed to United City FC and went on to win the 2020 PFL championship and competed in the 2021 AFC Champions League but was bothered by Yanson’s issues.
“When United City FC took over the licenses from Ceres-Negros to rescue the club in July 2020, the parties signed an agreement outlining particular obligations to be fulfilled by Ceres-Negros,” United City FC said.
“However, some have unfortunately not been met by the former club. United City FC is now being dragged into legal disputes brought forward against Ceres-Negros, for which United City FC is neither responsible nor have caused the circumstances,” it added.
“Since the legal actions were taken against the former club Ceres-Negros have been registered with FIFA, it has now affected the United City FC Club license application for AFC competitions, which as of writing, is ‘provisional,” the team further said.
To resolve the matter, United City FC tapped legal minds to fix the issue brought about by the former franchise owner while also continuously coordinating with the Philippine Football Federation.
“We apologize to our fans that the ongoing Copa is, unfortunately, being played without us. However, we assure you that UCFC will be stronger and better in 2022 when we aim to defend our PFL title and to go a step further in AFC competitions,” it ended./ASC, WDJ