We mourn the demise of FC Meralco-Manila but…


THE football community is mourning the death of the FC Meralco-Manila, one of the top teams and the Philippine Football League.
According to wikipedia.com the club was founded as Loyola Agila Football Club in 2006, the club changed its name to Loyola Meralco Sparks in 2011 after the acquisition of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and the MVP Sports Foundation, both of which are owned by Filipino millionaire Manuel V. Pangilinan.


Loyola Meralco Sparks had their first major success in 2013, when they won the United Football League Cup. Since then, they have won the PFF National Men’s Club Championship once.
In 2017, the club once again changed its name to FC Meralco Manila from Loyola Meralco Sparks F.C. to reflect its entry to the Philippines Football League. In the new year, the club officially does not exist anymore.
It was a shock to the football community and the shock waves still revibirates to the senses of every Filipino football fans regardless of their affiliations and loyalties.
FC Meralco-Manila since it was purchased by Manny Pangilinan and his MVP Sports Foundation in 2011 as Meralco Sparks was doomed from the start because of its setup.
The club never had the support of the people of Manila. It never had the support of the community. The club relied too much on their corporate support from MVP. Since MVP has never been a football fan, once the finances of the club has skyrocketed and the sponsorship money has dried up he just simply pulled plug out and left more than 30 people jobless.
It is a big lesson for clubs to learn. In order to survive, clubs should not rely only on one corporate sponsor. If you rely only on one corporate sponsor, you would be like the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) where countless of teams have change colors and names since the league started in 1975.
Clubs should be community based, that is why Ceres Negros FC, Stallions-Laguna FC, Cebu Global FC and Davao Aguilas FC have survived and Kaya FC is moving to Iloilo.
Meralco-Manila FC relied too much on its corporate sponsor that it has forgotten to campaign to get local support from the Manila government, from local schools and establishments, and even from poor people of Manila. It even did not have any programs for the poor kids of Tondo which is just few minutes ride from Rizal Memorial.
The club’s budget ballooned and the income did not go up. Had the club had other sources of income, it could still be around. Then it boils down to marketing.
The MVP is funding many other sports under its wings. Just check the PBA. MVP maintains the Talk ’N Text, Meralco Bolts and NCLEX. MVP also has the Cignal professional women’s volleyball team in the Philippine Super Liga.
MVP is not completely out from football as he is also sponsoring the Philippine Women’s football team that is right now in the USA preparing for the Asian Cup Women’s Championship which will be held in Jordan. The Malditas will play the opening match on April 6 against the host team.
So, before anyone blames MVP for the death of the FC Meralco-Manila just think first. Blame the guys running the club. Not him. (l.biantan@gmail.com)

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