Football: Goodbye, Ceres-Negros, hello, United City

Published July 23, 2020, 9:16 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Philippines Football League champion Ceres-Negros will now be known as United City FC after a group of investors completed the transfer of ownership on Thursday.


MMC Sportz Asia announced the transaction, two weeks after Ceres management announced that it was looking for a new set of owners that can continue to run the decorated club owned by Leo Rey Yanson.

Eric Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz Asia, said that it is now working on being granted permission by the Philippine Football Federation to rename the club.

“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the Club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season”, said Gottschalk.

“We will now immediately apply for permission with the PFF to rename the Club to ‘United City Football Club’ and request the PFF to support our statement of intent to continue participating in the AFC Cup,” he added.

The new ownership announced that 16 of the 21 players from Ceres have committed to play for the renamed club while also working on keeping Serbian Risto Vidakovic as coach.

“The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing,” the club said.

The effects of COVID-19 on the Yanson-owned Ceres bus company led to the decision to look for a new set of owners.

Ceres had been on a roll in the AFC Cup, winning two matches and drawing once before the continental competition was suspended due to the pandemic.

The PFF had earlier said that the transfer of ownership won’t have a significant effect on Ceres’ campaign once the AFC Cup resumes.