UFL partners with Megaworld for new football homefield

Santi Araneta, 3rd from right, and Kendrick Tan (4th) seal the deal to have the McKinley Football Field as the home of the United Football League starting next season. Also in the photo are, from left to right Javier Mantecon, Randy Roxas, Philipps Cando and Lourdes Gutierrez.

The country’s premier football league will soon have a new home.

The United Football League struck a deal to use the artificial pitch that will be constructed by real estate giant Megaworld Corporation at McKinley Hill in Taguig City.

The field will be known as the McKinley Hill Football Field.

Present at the contract signing from Football Alliance were Santi Araneta, Chairman; Randy Roxas, President; and Javier Mantecon, Marketing Director. Representing Megaworld Corporation were Kendrick Tan, son of Megaworld chairman Andrew Tan and Emperador Cup director; Lourdes Gutierrez, Senior Executive Vice President; and Philipps Cando, Senior Vice President.

“With this partnership we have with Megaworld, this will be the first contract that we will sign which will give us FIFA-standard football field with bleachers of about a maximum of 4,000 seating capacity,” Araneta said.

UFL welcomed the deal saying it addresses the league’s problem on the lack of quality pitches. It could also help in improving the quality of play in the league.

Under the deal with Megaworld, the UFL will have priority in the field usage for the next four years. The deal is co-terminus with the television deal that the league signed with AKTV.

UFL games are carried live on AKTV on IBC 13 every Saturday afternoon.

The UFL holds most of its matches at the University of Makati football field due to the unavailability of the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Several Second Division matches are played at the BGC Turf as well as the Nomads Sports Club.

“To be honest with you, we’re trying to push in the United Football League that we play in UMak and in this new one. I think Rizal Memorial should be reserved for national team games,” said Araneta.

Work on the field is targeted to be completed by September just in time for the start of the new season in October. This will be followed by the construction of a grandstand that can accommodate 2,000 people which they aim to finish by middle of 2013.

The league sees the construction of the field as a boost to the growing popularity of the sport in the country.

“It has always been Megaworld’s credo to build a community where you live, work and learn. We feel that an integral part of the community is having places where kids can play. And with the popularity of football now, every community needs to have a football field. That is what is ideal for us. There is always opportunity of adding more,” Kendrick Tan said.

“This is just one of the possible agreement that Megaworld has informed us,” said Araneta. “They’re open to having maybe three to four more pitches in Metro Manila. Maybe there will be some more in the provinces. They mentioned places like Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo as possible other field venues.”

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