MANILA – United Clark has begged off from joining the second half of the Philippines Football League (PFL) season.
The club said on Thursday that it had to withdraw its participation while in a legal battle with a Singaporean investment group over unpaid dues, which affected its operations.
"United City Football Club would like to announce that it has requested the Philippine Football Federation to grant the club 'non-participation' for the remaining 2022-23 Philippines Football League [matches] while the club awaits the outcome of the legal proceedings in Singapore against its investor Riau Capital Live," United Clark said in a statement.
The club accused RCL of failing to bankroll them, which affected the players' payroll.
"Since RCL also failed to honor the agreed final settlement deadlines earlier this month, it has now forced UCFC to temporarily discontinue its professional football team operations and to withdraw its team from the remainder of the 2022-23 PFL season," United Clark further said.
United Clark then thanked PFF president Nonong Araneta, secretary-general Ed Gastanes, and PFL commissioner Coco Torre "for their support and guidance in order for UCFC to manage the complicated process."
For his part, Araneta said, "We understand the situation affecting United City FC that forced them to withdraw from the league. We hope that the club and its management are able to bounce back from this predicament."
Amid speculations that it might fold for good after releasing almost all its players, though, the Capas-based squad clarified it still intends to return next season once it finally settles the score with its former investment partner.
"Following its request for non-participation, UCFC has committed to the PFF that legal actions are being pursued to retrieve the investment and to settle the club's current liabilities while UCFC intends to return to PFF competitions for the 2023-24 season," the club further stated.
However, Gastanes, a practicing lawyer, said, "While the club has reiterated its desire to compete in future seasons, it must sort out its situation first before making its return to league action."
Torre added, "The case of UCFC is part of the realities on the ground, which must be addressed. We commend UCFC for the high standards they have set earlier on, but we must also consider the economics surrounding football as a business."
According to the league, it "will deliberate on the status of United City FC with regards to the league matches affected following the club's withdrawal."
United Clark is supposed to play right at the restart of the PFL season on Saturday in a road game against Mendiola at the City of Imus Grandstand. (PNA)