Photo from PFL

United City said it decided to pull out of the Copa Paulino Alcantara after being dragged in a legal dispute against previous license holder Ceres-Negros.

The club bared Monday, Nov. 8 that issues involving Ceres have affected its application to be eligible to play in Asian club competitions namely the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.

UCFC claimed that Ceres failed to meet some obligations as agreed in the transfer of ownership last year.

“When United City FC took over the licenses from Ceres-Negros to rescue the club in July 2020, the parties signed an agreement outlining particular obligations to be fulfilled by Ceres-Negros,” UCFC said. “However, some have unfortunately not been met by the former club, as of this writing.

“As the successor of Ceres Negros, United City FC is now being dragged into legal disputes brought forward against Ceres-Negros, for which United City FC is neither responsible nor have caused the circumstances, as all this arose before the take-over of the club, which is undisputed.”

UCFC added that it is now working with the Philippine Football Federation to find a solution to the matter, especially with the club now having provisional status in AFC competitions.

This year’s AFC Champions League participants also explained that continuing with the Copa stint will only affect nominations for next year’s AFC Cup.

United City’s withdrawal left the Copa with just five teams, with Group A clubs Stallion-Laguna and Dynamic Herb Cebu reduced to playing one match for the top spot in the said grouping.

“Since the legal actions taken against the former Club Ceres-Negros have been registered with FIFA, it has now affected the United City FC Club license application for AFC competitions, which as of writing, is ‘provisional.’” United City said.

“UCFC has handed the matter over to its legal council, and together with the support of the PFF, all parties are working towards an amicable solution.

“In the meantime, United City FC decided to pull out of the Copa Paulino Alcantara competition, as our participation would affect the outcome for the 2022 AFC Cup nominations of the other teams involved, among other factors, which had to be considered.

“With sadness, we took this step, especially since our players and staff have been preparing for our return to local competitions, following our participation in the AFC Champions League last July.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (