Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A short interview with the UFL’s Chairman, Santi Araneta & President, Randy Roxas.

A short interview with the UFL’s Chairman, Santi Araneta & President, Randy Roxas.
by rick olivares

Rick: Is it a good idea for the UFL to move its knockout stages to make way for the SEA Games? In say, Europe or North America, they lose players for the African Cup but they continue with their domestic leagues. 

Santi Araneta: Yes and no. For now, yes, because the Philippines lacks football talent. Once we has developed enough football talent that it will not cause a club team too much quality in the game then we won't have to postpone matches for Sea Games. Exceptions should be made for Sea Game semis and finals, but not for the players, for the audience. 

Randy Roxas: Given our current state where we are trying to make the UFL, Philippine football, and the national team – not in that order, of course -- the best it can possibly be and that means also assisting the PFF and the national team, then I’d say yes. Having said that, we are also looking at improving our schedule to accommodate the international schedules and competitions. In the long run, it should stabilize.

Rick: The group stages of the UFL Cup featured matches that were blowouts. Is that good for the UFL to be seen on national TV? Will any of these clubs be participating in the UFL Division 2 play?

Santi: Not good at all. But since it's our first year to go televised and it was also a expansion year, there was really no telling how some of these clubs were gonna perform. The UFL board will decide which teams will participate in the League. This will be based not only on the quality of their game but also their commitment and the clubs conduct and track record. 

Randy: It’s both good and bad. The other night, I had dinner with the team manager of one of the teams that was blown out and he was very passionate in his belief that in spite of getting beaten by a huge score, they are committed to play maybe in Division II and get better. They understand the quality in Division I and it was a huge eye opener for them. It’s an expansion year and we are in the process of improving much of our league. We just have to manage things very well. But it’s a learning experience too. By the same token, even in the foreign leagues, say for example, the La Liga, it’s really a two-team race and we see blowouts there. And that’s supposed to be top-flight football (see Real Madrid versus Osasuna).

Rick: Will the UFL look into arranging its competition calendar to accommodate the international competitions?

Santi: Yes we will. But invitational matches, friendlies are not in a regular calendar and really make it difficult to work with. Based on my knowledge, international clubs only release their players one month before the World Cup and two weeks before the Olympics. Other than that it's very difficult adjust the schedules, as you can see with how difficult it is to get (Neil) Etheridge and (Stephan) Schrock here. They arrive sometimes a day before the game and leave the day after.

The Azkals have really helped boost football in the country and we all need to take advantage of that. It's very difficult to improve club football if club players are being asked to go on 2-3 week training camps out of the country just to prepare for friendlies. But I guess for now we just all have to share in our efforts until we have enough talent not to worry. 

Randy: Yes, it is something we are discussing. For example, there’s the AFC President’s Cup but since the League competition isn’t done we might have to send last year’s winner Air Force to represent the country. We really have to sit down with the PFF and the national team to map out the competitions and proper release procedures so we don’t hurt the clubs and the national team. 

Revised UFL Cup sked

Nov. 19 (Saturday) Rizal – Round of 16

2PM:  M-44:  Stallions FC vs Diliman Victory Liner FC
4PM:  M-50:  Global FC vs Phil. Army Fritz & Macziol FC

Nov. 20 (Sunday) Nomads – Round of 16
6PM:  M-45:  Team Socceroo FC vs Kaya Cignal FC
8PM:  M-48:  Green Archers United FC vs Lions Meltique Beef FC

Nov. 22 (Tuesday) Rizal – Round of 16
7PM:  M-49:  Pachanga FC vs Phil. Navy Redjuice FC
9PM:  M-43:  Loyola Meralco Sparks FC vs Sunken Garden United FC

Nov. 26 (Saturday) Rizal or UMak - Quarterfinals
2PM:  M-51:  Winner of M-43 vs Winner of M-44
4PM:  M-52:  Winner of M-45 vs Nomads Auction Manila FC

Nov 27 (Sunday) UMak or Nomads – Quarterfinals
4PM:  M-53:  Phil. Air Force Phoenix FC vs Winner of M-48
6PM:  M-54:  Winner of M-49 vs Winner of M-50

Dec. 1 (Thursday) UMak OR Dec. 6 (Tuesday) Rizal – Semifinals
6PM:  M-55:  Winner of M-51 vs Winner of M-52
8PM:  M-56:  Winner of M-53 vs Winner of M-54

Dec. 10 (Saturday) Rizal – Finals
2PM:  M-57:  (3rd/4th Place)  Loser of M-55 vs Loser of M-56
4PM:  M-58:  (Championship)  Winner of M-55 vs Winner of M-56


  1. Promising indeed! The local football competition that is in sync with , and values, the National Team. Hope this cooperative spirit goes on and on. Hope too that the international schedules are finalized and given to UFL early enough so that they can plan properly. Both the local tournament and the National Team Program have to work together, and will hugely benefit the sport in the process. And they'll avoid what had happened to Philippine Basketball.

  2. Rick,

    You might want to inform the UFL officials that I think it might be too late for the UFL to join the 2012 AFC President's Cup. The PFF first have to send a request to the AFC to be included in next years Cup and then submit documents to show we can fulfill the required criteria including venues, number of teams, accredited game officials, accommodations, etc. I think the deadline for submitting the documents was on Oct. 14, 2011 for next year's cup. The AFC has to arrange teams in groups with 12 teams participating, and since Myanmar is planning to enter a higher level tournament next year, the AFC Cup, there is a vacancy. However that seems to have been filled by Mongolia who has submitted their request months ago and I presume are in the process of sending the required documents. So best guess, is the earliest we can join is 2013.

    Here is the article from the AFC stating the deadline for Mongolia to submit documents:

    After the documents are submitted, the AFC has to inspect the venues to see if they comply with all the requirements so it is a long involved process.

  3. The UFL is an independent league, thus it's not recognized by a body such as the AFC. No champions of the UFL will be able to enter any AFC tournaments. Asa sila!

    From what they've said, it seems that there is too much going on and they can't seem to handle it. Part of it is most likely that the UFL is trying to expand too fast too soon with "weak" criteria on teams entering their competitions. But that's probably what you're gonna get with these guys who although have good intentions for the local game, are more business men than sports business men and just doesn't seem to have the knowledge and experience on the intricacies of professional football.

    "I had dinner with the team manager of one of the teams that was blown out and he was very passionate in his belief that in spite of getting beaten by a huge score, they are committed to play maybe in Division II and get better."

    It's obvious he was talking to the manager of Queen City.

  4. Tsk tsk. We're too negative. So I guess you are not a part of the solution. The UFL is imperfect, I'll give you that. But these people are trying their best to make things right. Go shit on your pants now.