Philippines giants Meralco Manila withdraw from PFL

Meralco Manila have withdrawn from the second season of the Philippines Football League and ceased operations due to financial difficulty.

Meralco, one of Philippine football’s biggest teams, finished top of the PFL last year but were eliminated by bitter rivals Global Cebu in the semi-finals of the tournament’s Finals Series.

However, any hopes that they might mount another title bid in 2018 came to an abrupt and premature end on Monday when the club dropped the bombshell that it would no longer be participating in the PFL.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that the club will be ceasing operations immediately and will no longer participate in the second season of the Philippines Football League,” they announced on their official Facebook page.

“Circumstances beyond our control have made it difficult for FC Meralco Manila to continue. The board and management of the Sparks have tried to arrange for new investors that would keep the organisation running, but those efforts have sadly fallen short.

“We sincerely apologise to our fans, and thank them for all the support over the last seven years. Special thanks also to our sponsors Jollibee and Mizuno for believing in the club and being there for us. Thanks as well to the City of Manila for being our home.

“The management of the team is currently in the process of searching for new teams for our players. These amazing athletes and people deserve to continue plying their trade, and we will do all in our power to find them new clubs.

“The club also encourages all Sparks fans to keep on supporting the league and Philippine football as a whole.”

Meralco are widely known for their long-term association with Phil and James Younghusband – two of the biggest names in Philippine football – but had their fair share of other stars over the years like Lee Joo-young, Joaquin Canas and Tahj Minniecon.

Furthermore, the Sparks were also extremely in active in promoting young talent with Amani Aguinaldo and Paolo Bugas, two of the Azkals’ brightest starlets at the moment, both getting their break with Meralco.