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Understanding the Format of the Lipa Football League

Image source:  The Outlets at Lipa Facebook page.
Image source:  The Outlets at Lipa Facebook page.
For the benefit of those who might have watched the Lipa Football League’s opening set of games last 30 September 2018, along with those planning to watch our future matches, it will be of interest and benefit to you to understand the format of the league.

First of all, the Lipa Football League is a developmental league whose primary objectives are to stimulate interest in football in the city of Lipa – the football community is comparatively small – raise the existing playing standards but at the same time be a venue for those who used to play but stopped doing so simply because of the demands of school or work.

Hence, taking into consideration that the footballing community is relatively small and that some of the clubs have players who just want to get back into or continue in the game without really having the time to train as most proper teams would, the league allows clubs with high school players to participate against those whose members are mostly adults.

Organizers of the Lipa Football League are aware that this is not an ideal situation, but coaches and match officials are warned to protect the younger players. If, in the future, the game grows in Lipa enough to have competitions for different age groups, the organizers will not think twice about doing so.

The tournament match duration also takes into consideration the fact that some of the clubs have a majority of players who are full-time students or are already employed and, therefore, do not have the time to train regularly.

Hence, matches are played on a 30-minute per half basis, instead of the 45-minutes typical of leagues at this age level. This is also the reason why open substitution is used, i.e. players are allowed to enter and leave the match without restrictions as it is done in basketball.
Image source:  Karlyn Vivas.
Image source:  Karlyn Vivas.
The ultimate goal, at least as far as the organizers are concerned, is to have semi-professional clubs for whom players could train at least several times a week to prepare for matches, all the while keeping their ‘day jobs.’

Finally, the 9-a-side format is something more or less dictated by the playing venue. In the inaugural season, which was played entirely at the field of the Lipa campus of the University of Batangas, the matches were played using the 7-a-side format. For Season 2, the present format is dictated by the size of the Aboitiz Pitch, owned by the Lipa Football League’s co-presenter The Outlets at Lipa.

The Lipa Football League is also aware that there are football clubs that are not blessed with a lot of funds. In its desire to be an inclusive rather than exclusive league, its registration fee is almost laughably low and is just enough to pay the bare tournament costs. For this same reasons, rules on playing kits and the use of standard equipment such as shin guards are also relaxed.

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