PFF allow foreigners for national championships

THE PHILIPPINE Football Federation (PFF) is set to put a check on the practice of players jumping from one team to another in the Men's National Championship on Feb 20-26 in Iloilo City, but has also allowed teams to recruit foreign players for their squad.

"Teams can hire five foreign players for the national finals, but only three can play at the same time," Cebu Football Association (CebuFA) president Jonathan Maximo said.

Maximo added that the foreigners will have to be registered first with the PFF before they can play.

Aside from the foreigners, the PFF has also restricted the practice of players jumping from one place to another, which led to some officials joking during last year's championships that the champion team, NCR, had no player who can speak Tagalog, since most of them came from Visayas and Mindanao.

The new rules were part of the guidelines on players' eligibility sent by PFF to the local associations for the regional and national meets this year.

"In our case, the players who were born here but are now playing somewhere else, we can get them provided they are released form their Club and their FA," Maximo said.

Teams who have played in one regional elimination are no longer allowed to play in other regional meet.

According to Maximo, some teams who lose in the NCR eliminations go to other FAs to play and cited the case of the Philippine Army team, which lost in the NCR eliminations but managed to win and represent Laguna in the national finals.

"Basically the PFF want to contain the teams and let them play and qualify (for the nationals) in their own FAs," Maximo said.

As to the fielding of foreign players, Maximo said that although a team can hire five, only three players can play in a single match.

Also, the champion team in a regional meet can beef up its squad with a maximum of five players from the teams in the same regional meet. The other players in the losing squad, can no longer jump to other teams.

The NCR team that won the crown last year had in its line up, Ref Cuaresma, Gary and Rock Clint Viliran, Norman Sonoza, Jose Caminos and Marlon Pinero , of Dumaguete City, Loreto Kalalang, RubenCArdena, DavidSerra of Bacolod City, Jimmy Doña, and Michael Jay Fernandez of Davao and Koronadal's Rodney Leyble.

Bacolod, the runner-up also had imports Jan Michael Flores, Rocky Garciano and Kim Relucio of Cebu and Redric Viliran and Wouter Delabore of Dumaguete.

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