MANILA, Philippines – After opening the new season at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the United Football League is finally moving to its new home in McKinley Hill in Global City, Taguig starting this weekend.
Sitting on a 15,000-square meter land at the back of Venice Piazza, the multi-million peso football field to be called Emperador Stadium boasts of a world-class artificial pitch, a 2,000-seating capacity and other modern amenities due for completion by the middle of this year.
The league will start using the new pitch over the weekend with Division II action.
A 700-seater grand stand will be available by Tuesday when Division I play resumes with Pachanga-Diliman FC taking on the Loyola Meralco Sparks at 5 p.m. to be followed by the Green Archers United Globe-Kaya match at 7:30 p.m. Both matches will be televised live over AKTV on IBC 13.
The new turf built by real estate empire Megaworld uses the the Max S 60 mm variety of the renowned Italian brand Limonta Sport, which is one of the few turf providers certified by FIFA.
Limonta Sport is the same company that supplied the turf systems of the AC Milan, Valencia FC, and the famous floating marina field in Singapore.
“This is a world-class pitch. We are assured of quality football in this kind of turf unlike the fields in Rizal Memorial and University of Makati, which can be uneven at times due to weather conditions and other factors,” said UFL chairman Santi Araneta during the press launch at the Old Vine Grill in Venice Piazza yesterday.
Aside from the world-class artificial turf, the other facilities are all state-of-the-art.
The Belgian brand Schreder Group GIE and the French Zenith Luminaires were tapped for the lighting while the Bradwell Group supplied the poles, manufactured in Turkey, that support these lights.
“We've seen how the Philippines has made football as one of the most anticipated sporting events in recent years. That's why we saw the need to build this kind of sporting venue that will answer the needs, in terms of amenities and facilities, of even the most demanding athletes here and abroad,” said Jericho Go, Megaworld's first vice President for Business Development and Leasing Group.
He added that the 2,000-seating capacity may be extended to 5,000 as Megaworld and UFL, who forged a four-year deal, are already talking about expansion once the multi-million project will be completed in June.
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“In our past venues, we encountered scheduling problems among other things. But here in Emperador Stadium, we’ll be the first priority and have full control including bringing in concessionaires and other things to make watching the games more enjoyable to the fans,” Araneta said.
The locker rooms, a dugout and shower room facilities are among the convenient fixtures at the stadium for the athletes and fans while provisions for Press and VIP boxes and a press conference room are also in the works.