Ilocos United have become the second team to withdraw from the Philippines Football League ahead of its second season in 2018.
The decision to pull out of the competition was announced by club CEO Tony Lazaro on Thursday evening with Ilocos following in the footsteps of Meralco Manila, who also folded last week.
In a statement on the club’s official Facebook page, Lazaro said: “Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful.
“Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.
“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”
Nonetheless, Lazaro further added that Ilocos are “cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season”.
New and potential sponsors are wary at throwing money at such an unstable product. Last year’s sponsors have been burned by unfulfilled promises.
— Ryan Fenix (@RyanFenix) January 18, 2018
Ilocos were the lowest-ranked side in the PFL last season having won just won one out of their 28 games, as they finished 13 points adrift of second-from-bottom Davao Aguilas.
With the withdrawal of Meralco and Ilocos, the PFL now face the prospect of being just a six-team competition this year, which would present a major setback following years of improvement in Philippine football.
Photo credit: Philippines Football League