Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Promotion / Relegation Conundrum

Tonight, club football in the Philippines resumes, with the Philippine Air Force Phoenix facing Pasargad FC at the University of Makati. Thus, the resumption of survival at the top and having to avoid the concept of relegation. As of the moment, this is the Division 1 table as it stands:

Division 1 GP PTS
Global FC 9 21
Loyola Meralco Sparks FC 8 19
Kaya FC 8 18
Stallion Gilligan's FC 7 14
Phil. Army Fritz & Macziol FC 9 9
Phil. Air Force Phoenix FC 7 8
Nomads Auction Manila 8 8
Green Archers United FC 8 7
Pasargad FC 7 5
Phil. Navy Red Juice FC 9 4

And this is the current table for Division 2, which will resume action on Saturday night:

Division 2 GP PTS
Pachanga FC 11 31
Diliman Victory Liner FC 11 29
Cebu Queen City United FC 11 25
Agila FC 11 21
Laos FC 11 15
Union Internacional Manila 11 14
Team Socceroo FC 11 14
Forza FC 11 12
Dolphins United FC 11 10
Manila All-Japan FC 11 7
Lions Meltique Beef FC 11 7
Sunken Garden United FC 11 6

Note that the bottom team in Division 1 and the bottom two teams of Division 2 are highlighted. They are the ones who will be relegated. Now who will replace those particular teams? The champion of Division 2 will be promoted to Division 1 to replace the last place team. As for the Division 2 cellar dwellers, since there is no Division 3, the current set-up (barring any changes from the UFL Executive and / or Technical Committee) is to find teams who participated in the UFL Cup to come in and replace the relegated sides.

With regards to this, earlier today, Bonnie Ladrido, drafted on his website a position paper presenting a possible revision to the relegation process pertaining to Division 1. Specifically, the revision in question is looking at two teams being relegated from Division 1 to Division 2 and the top two teams from Division 2 to Division 1. The third-worst team in Division 1 would then face the third-best team in Division 2 in a 2-leg format, with the winner gets to earn its slot in Division 1.

The logic of this, according to the paper, is to ensure the UFL is aligned with how other football leagues are set up, citing how other countries conduct similar relegation schemes. In addition, it also expounds on the value of increased competitiveness within the league with this particular scheme, as it would make for better storylines and a larger magnitude of drama at the end of the season.

Based on the current standings, the application of the proposal would show that Navy and Pasargad will be automatically relegated, with Pachanga and Diliman automatically promoted. The Division 1 play-in game would then involve Green Archers United and Cebu Queen City United (a tantalizing possibility especially if one of the legs is going to be held at the Queen City of the South).   

It is important to note though, that Mr. Ladrido is part of the management team of Diliman FC, the 2nd team in Division 2, but he did make it clear that this paper is the end result of a collaborative effort amongst the Division 2 teams during a Technical Committee meeting, and that it was his responsibility to write the paper. In addition, even before his team was included in the league, he already recommended such an expansion to the UFL management. He did stress that the decision still rests with the UFL as to amending the rules and that the clubs are to abide by them whether the position paper is accepted or not.

Reading the paper would make you nod your head in approval to what the essence of what it is, and so for football fans in the Philippines, it is something that the United Football League should look into, among other things, in its development alongside the growth of the sport in our consciousness.

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