Global FC have played their last match in the 2015 United Football League (UFL) season.
The 2014 League champions will miss the rest of this year’s Cup competition after the UFL Appeals Committee formally expelled Global.
The expulsion was one of the penalties upheld by the Committee in its decision on the allegation about one of Global’s former players. According to the Appeals Committee, player Satoshi Otomo was ineligible to play in the UFL as a Filipino.
Otomo is a midfielder who joined Global FC last year. He was also called up to the Philippine Men’s National Football Team last year during the build up to the AFF Suzuki Cup. He was part of the Bahrain camp and played during a friendly against Thailand.
The UFL also stated that there was no substantial evidence to disallow Global FC player Hikaru Minegishi from playing as a Filipino. Minegishi’s lineage was also questioned. The UFL Appeals Committee agreed with the Disciplinary Committee’s initial decision and found Minegishi eligible to play as a Filipino.
Four of the eight other teams in the First Division filed the complaints against Global FC with the UFL. These clubs are League champions Ceres-La Salle FC, Kaya FC, Stallion FC, and Pachanga Diliman FC.
The same document also stated that the Appeals Committee overruled the Disciplinary Committee’s initial decision that Global forfeit three League matches where Otomo played as a local. That Otomo played as a local meant that Global went past the allowed five foreigners on the pitch.
Interestingly enough, Global were expelled from the Cup but were not penalized in the League competition. Otomo played in the first leg of the League but did not play a single match in the Cup since he had already been dropped during the April transfer window. The Cup competition began in May.
In addition to Global’s expulsion from the Cup, the club has also been fined P250,000.00. Otomo has been handed a six match ban. Otomo is currently not in the Philippines and he is not signed by any UFL club.
Global FC’s Chief Operation Officer, Cian Palami, had this to say after the statement was released to the media: “Ikinalulungkot namin na ito yung naging decision ng UFL. Kasi yung talunan dito hindi lang kami pati yung fans at yung Philippine football community in general. Gagawa kami ng statement in the coming days and sa tingin namin in the proper forum and venue na lalabas at lalabas ang katotohanan.” (We are saddened by the decision of the UFL. We aren’t the only losers here, even the fans; it was the Philippine football community in general who lost. We will make a statement in the coming days and we think that in the proper forum and venue, the truth will really come out.)
Palami then said that Global is busy in their preparations for the Singapore Cup, where they are proudly representing the country and the UFL. However, he added: “confident kami na in the end of all this sa kahulihulian ng pangyayari nito that Global will be stronger and titibay ang samahan ng mga fans, UFL at ng Philippine football in general.” (We are confident that at the end of all this, Global will be stronger, as well as the community of fans, the UFL, and Philippine football in general.)
It is uncertain at the moment whether Global, as the UFL League’s second-placed team, will still get the AFC Cup play-off spot in the event that Ceres La Salle FC also win the UFL Cup. According to UFL General Manager Rely San Agustin and Technical Director Ritchie Gannaban, they will stand by the UFL League’s results.
However, both UFL officials and officials of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) also stated that the PFF will ultimately have the last say when it comes to the representative or representatives of the Philippines to AFC and other international competitions.