POC Executive Board suspends PATAFA, Philta
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Executive Board, on Thursday, March 17, has suspended the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) for various reasons.
The POC Executive Board announced their decision of suspending the two NSAs after a special meeting that would give embattled pole vault star Ernest John “EJ” Obiena the chance to represent the country in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.
POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said that Philta was suspended for its non-compliance with an order from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to amend its Charter and hold fresh elections to elect a truly representative set of board members.
Philta is serving a two-year suspension by the ITF since late 2020 and the suspension may be extended unless the NSA complies with the world tennis body’s instruction.
PATAFA, according to Tolentino was also suspended for failing to serve its purpose as an NSA, particularly its continued denial of endorsing Obiena to major international meets.
The suspensions were meted a day after Senator Pia Cayetano led the filing of a motion to cite the PATAFA in contempt for disobeying the order of the Senate Committee on Sports to amicably settle its differences with Obiena.
The contempt charges also stemmed from PATAFA’s filing a case against Obiena and the POC with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. PATAFA filed the case with the CAS four days after it agreed to undergo mediation during a Senate hearing on February 7.
“They failed in the dedication and commitment toward the development of the sport, promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit of sportsmanship,” said Tolentino.
“Our constitution states that POC may suspend for any reason. However, it’s transparent that PATAFA has deliberately and intentionally disregarded our basic principles of promoting sports and development. Unfortunately, the non-endorsement of EJ has created a national issue. EJ Obiena, under our International Olympic Committee Charter, has two reasons to be endorsed—sports merit and inspiration to the youth.”
Obiena recently announced that he missed the registration period of the Belgrade World Indoor Championships after PATAFA refused to endorse him.
PATAFA also didn’t endorse Obiena to the Philippine Team for the SEA Games, the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July, and the Hangzhou (China) Asian Games in September.
Tolentino said PATAFA prioritized its ‘pride’ amidst the mediation between them and Obiena.
“The time is clearly now for EJ who is mentally and physically prepared. We are in a reachable milestone within our grasp,” said Tolentino.
PATAFA will be suspended for 90 days and will be ratified by the POC General Assembly on March 30.
Once ratified, PATAFA loses its authority over the national athletics team for the SEA Games, providing Obiena a chance to compete.
However, Tolentino stated that the suspensions could be dismissed if both NSAs will comply.
Philta’s suspension will be lifted if they comply with the ITF’s rules while PATAFA’s will be lifted if it irons out its issues with Obiena through the PSC mediation. /rcg
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