MMC Sportz Asia announced yesterday that it led a group of private investors that will take over Ceres Negros Football Club for the upcoming Philippines Football League (PFL) season.
The club will now be known as United City Football Club, although it was not disclosed if it will still represent Bacolod for the PFL and the AFC Cup.
Eric Gottschalk, MMC’s chief executive officer, said in a statement that United City will be keeping the core of Ceres Negros lineup for this season.
“We are proud to announce that we have received the commitment from 16 of the original 21 registered Ceres Negros players (not including James Younghusband who has retired recently from football) to play for the new club,” Gottschalk said.
He added that Risto Vidakovic stays as head coach and Ace Bright retains his spot as general manager.
Gottschalk did not disclose the name of the players staying, although he added that they will be revealed soon.
“The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing,” Gottschalk said.
“We will now immediately apply for permission with the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) to rename the club to ‘United City Football Club’,” he added.
Despite the name change, Gottschalk said the management group still intends to have United City playing in the AFC Cup.
United City, still listed as Ceres Negros, is unbeaten in Group G after the first round of the group stages with seven points on two wins and a draw.
The club will once again meet Bali United, Svay Rieng, and Than Quang Ninh in the second round from Sept. 23-29 in a bubble similar to the one being used by the National Basketball Association in its season restart.
The ownership transfer was done due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 in the businesses of former owner Leo Rey Yanson as well as the ongoing row within his family.
“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season,” Gottschalk said.*PNA