Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fair Play: A curious fact about Emperador Stadium

EMPERADOR, eto ang totoo.  Now that's the tagline for the sponsor of the United Football League's stadium.

Well, 25 years from now, and if the stadium would still be standing, there is going to be a curious fact involving Cebu, or to be more precise, what didn't involve Cebu, when the Emperador Stadium opened shop--Cebu Queen City United didn't show up for their UFL Division 2 debut against the Dolphins.

And to be honest? It's quite embarrassing.  

After reading updates of how the team was preparing for the UFL season, I thought that they were really going to go through another 18-game grind of going to Manila and back.

To be honest?  I never expected Cebu Queen City United to return to the UFL.  There were talks of a Visayan league being formed, and I thought that that would be their focus.  And when I got to talk to some Cebu Queen City officials and players of the hardship they went through the previous season in traveling to Manila weekly, I was sure the prospect of traveling to Manila and back for 18 weekends wasn't attractive.

You have guys missing the weekend with their family to travel and as anyone catching a flight to get to a meeting knows, delays are stressful.  Last season, against a team they were supposed to beat by a mile, Cebu Queen City barely squeaked by. And the reason?  Their flight got so delayed they got the venue with only an hour to spare, sans lunch.  While the other team was warming up, they were having lunch, on the field.

So the request for having half of their 18 games played at home is understandable.

But this is the UFL, not the EPL.  And I don't think the UFL has that luxury.

Cebu Queen City officials say they also requested that last Saturday’s game against the Dolphins be moved, pending the UFL’s answer to their request. The UFL’s Coco Torre told InterAKTV that they never received such request.

Whatever the case is can’t erase this fact--Cebu Queen City was a no-show when the country’s premier league opened its brand new Emperador Stadium. Yan ang totoo.

There are two ways to go about this, the UFL and Queen City can spend the next few days pointing fingers on whose fault it was that led to the no-show or they can spend it to take what I think is the best course of action, solve this impasse.

Cebu Queen City wants to have half of its home games in Cebu and the turnout in its home game against Pachanga in the PFF Smart Cup—when the grandstand was filled and hundreds more were in the sidelines—show it would be a hit.  

Can the UFL afford it, and if the league can’t, what can Cebu Queen City provide to make that happen?

And if they can’t agree on nine games, can the UFL and Queen City work on a compromise? Say, have Cebu’s final five games played at home, as sort of an incentive, something to look forward to when the season ends.

Queen City said that if it won’t get its request granted, then it would just sit out the season.  I think, that’s the wrong attitude to take, as one critic said over Twitter, that’s like holding the league hostage. 

Any negotiations call for a compromise, not a take-this-or-the-highway attitude.

I hope they work this out because Cebu Queen City United, like I said last year, set the standard for a provincial team competing in the UFL--the country's premier league.

It would be quite a downside for them to exit this way.

You guys have each other’s numbers, call them, maybe?

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