The kickoff of the shortened fourth season of the Philippines Football League on Sunday has been postponed after nine persons tested positive for COVID-19 inside the bubble.

PFL officials made the announcement following a meeting with all six clubs Saturday, adding that five players and one coach from two clubs got positive results following RT-PCR tests conducted upon their arrival at Seda Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last Wednesday.

Three more persons were also positive for COVID-19 following additional tests also on Saturday.

“We have anticipated this scenario hence there is a set of health and safety protocols in place for incidents such as this. What is important is that all continue to adhere with the protocols which are aimed to prevent or minimize the spread of the virus,” said PFL commissioner Coco Torre.

“Upon checking, we have confirmed that those who tested positive admitted had a close contact with the player who was first to test positive,” added Torre, who didn’t reveal the identity of the player.

PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes remains hopeful that the season can begin in the next few days despite the situation.

“We put emphasis on the safety of each and every individual in the bubble, whether player, staff, or match official,” he said. “We understand the current situation and with participants’ strict compliance with bubble-specific protocols, we hope to push through with kickoff in a few days.”

The PFL also took into consideration the inclement weather brought upon by Tropical Depression Quinta as another reason for postponing the opener.

Three matches were supposed to be held in Sunday’s opener at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

The Azkals Development Team and Mendiola were scheduled to face each other at 9 a.m. followed by Kaya-Iloilo and Stallion-Laguna at 4:30 p.m. and Maharlika-Manila and United City at 8 p.m.

Source: Manila Bulletin (