3. System of promotion and relegation could be re-evaluated
The current system of promotion and relegation system in the UFL entails that the last placed team in the first division drop down to the second division and the Division Two champions move up to Division One.
Navy was spared from relegation in the 2011 season following the UFL’s decision to expand Division One from eight to ten teams. This year, there was no rescue lifeboat in sight for the Sailors.
Pachanga, going through the whole season unbeaten, is the second division champion. Dropping points only once this season, the Red Phoenix’s imperious form saw them score an eye popping 123 goals, including 34 from the ageless Freddy Gonzales, en route to promotion to the first division.
It can also be argued that second-place Diliman Victory Liner was just as deserving to move up to Division One. Eighteen wins and two draws out of twenty-two games is certainly a record not to be scoffed at.
In the course of the season, the UFL Executive Committee had considered relegating the bottom two teams from Division One and promoting the top two teams from Division Two. The idea was met with lukewarm response, as two teams would comprise 20 percent of the first division, a very high percentage.
Perhaps the league can look into the German Bundesliga for inspiration in matters relegation and promotion. The UFL may want to consider automatically relegating the bottom team, and having the 9th placed team play a two-legged playoff against the second-place team in Division Two, for example.
This is to ensure that there will be no complacency amongst the teams out of the title race. Furthermore, it gives an added incentive amongst the second division teams to aspire to move up to the UFL.
A quick glance at the final league table shows Green Archers Globe and Philippine Army, who occupy the 8th and 9th spots respectively, separated only by one point. Had such a system been put into place, would we have seen more urgency in both teams’ final games?
One thing is for sure, the Archers versus Army game last June 16 would have taken on a greater significance. Army, for instance, would certainly have prepared hard for that match, instead of not training for it and treating it as “laro-laro” lang.
On the flipside, would a determined Cebu Queen City United pose an even greater threat to second-place Diliman Victory Liner through the course of the season had the second Division Two spot meant a chance for Division One football next season?