Philippines faces similar woes

A-      A+

THE PHILIPPINES face the same problems as Malaysia where sports associations have internal problems.

At least two associations — Philippines Swimming Inc (PSI) and Philippines Lawn Tennis Association (Phita) — are in a mess with the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games less than four months away.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) last week installed two-time Olympian Ral Rosario — 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Games — as acting president of PSI in a move aimed at rescuing the sport from sinking deeper into the abyss.

Similarly, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) had to assist in resolving the issues faced by National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) who have been plagued with election issues.

NAAM are expected to hold fresh elections soon.

Phita have similar problems and will hold elections on April 28.

Observers are unsure whether this will end the impasse at the troubled association which has been the subject of a bitter power struggle between entrenched old guards and a group identified as reformers.

The election will decide if Jean Henri Lhuillier will replace the faction that has ruled the association for more than three decades.

The dissatisfaction with Philta leadership boiled over during a reorganisational meeting last February that saw Lhuillier’s group stage a walk out and force POC to nullify the results of the election.

Certainly sounds like Malaysian associations.

Cynthia Carrion, the chef-de-mission for the KL Games, admitted the internal problems are derailing their preparations, but expressed confidence the issues would be resolved quickly by POC and Philippines Sports Commission (PSC).

William I. Ramirez, 65, was hand-picked last July by President Rodrigo Duterte to helm PSC.

Ramirez was a PSC commissioner in 2000 and chairman in 2005, the year the Philippines won the overall title in the SEA Games.

He left PSC after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ramirez did not join the Philippines delegation to the Rio Olympics last August as he wanted to focus on preparing the team for the SEA Games in Malaysia.

Among his early challenges was PSC were asked to vacate their present main training centre at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex as it was ear-marked for development.

On Wednesday he received good news when the National Historial Commission of the Philippines declared Rizal Memorial a national historial landmark, thus preventing it from being demolished or converted into something else.

Ramirez had also touched on problematic NSAs, clarifiying “athletes and coaches will continue to enjoy our support” while issues are being thrashed.

An arbitration committee has been installed to oversee efforts to clear unliquidated accounts, settle intra-organisational conflicts and other issues which affect the effective management of athletes.

Malaysian NSAs too were given a reminded to manage their associations when Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was speaking at a campaign to combat corruption in sports organised by the Sports Commissioner’s Office at National Sports Institute in Bukit Jalil.

“All our best efforts will not become reality without strong governance among sports bodies. For excellence in sports, it is important for sports organisation management to be on the right track,” said Khairy.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said although sports corruption was not serious, corruption in sports was more prevalent among public agency officers who abused their power.

“Based on existing data and facts, I see the problem of corruption in sports is more on the abuse of power by public agency officers in procurement cases.

“In the past five years, most of the investigations carried out were on the purchase of equipment or supply of services,” Azam said.

Azam added sports body leaders should know their responsibility to ensure athletes gave excellent performance and not abuse power by taking advantage of weaknesses in their respective sports bodies.

Sports administration woes certainly need to be eradicated and heading towards professionalism, if sports in the region is to progress and meet international standards.

TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades’ experience and is passionate about local sports.

He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com