Resolving NSA problems
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2015 - 12:00am

The POC is determined to clean house and NSAs with unresolved issues are forewarned that unless things are straightened out, they could wind up getting stripped of recognition. POC first vice president Jose Romasanta has been tasked by POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. to conduct a thorough shakedown. PSC chairman Richie Garcia is backing up the operation 100 percent because he’s been put on notice by COA that recalcitrant NSAs won’t get a single centavo of subsidy from now on.

It’s about time NSAs are made to toe the line. For too long, some NSAs have gotten away with political concessions, presumably in exchange for votes in the POC elections that are held once in four years. Now, Romasanta is cracking the whip hard and Garcia isn’t budging from his strong position that he’s not lifting a finger to subsidize any NSA with dirt in its backyard.

Volleyball is a case in point. Romasanta himself has taken over the NSA with the backing of the international federation and the Asian confederation. The POC has even assumed the responsibility of forming the national women’s team competing at the coming Southeast Asian Games. Some athletes, however, are reportedly being restrained by certain unscrupulous individuals from joining the POC tryouts because they’re loyal to the leadership that’s been disenfranchised. If that’s true, it’s a sad state of affairs. Athletes should never be put in a situation where they are made to declare loyalty to this or that person. Athletes should only be loyal to their sport, period.

Romasanta said softball and squash are other sports which are not compliant with the stipulations of their Constitution and By-Laws with regard to election procedures.  He said Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines (SRAP) chairman Romy Ribano has assured that elections will be held with POC sanction but that was two months ago. “Up to today, SRAP president Allan Tantoco, who is a lawyer, has not made any moves to call for elections,” said Romasanta. “I’ve spoken with both Mr. Tantoco and Mr. Boyong Deles who is the SRAP secretary-general. If this situation persists, the POC will be forced to review the SRAP’s Constitution and By-Laws with our lawyer Ramon Malinao and check for compliance. We know that the SRAP’s original Constitution and By-Laws go back to 1985 but a new Constitution and By-Laws were registered in 2009. If and when we review the existing Constitution and By-Laws, we will determine if the stipulations are fair and democratic.

“We will also want to know who qualifies as a voter, which clubs, which individuals. If there are irregularities with no attempt to reform, we will report our findings to the international federation. This could be a repeat of the volleyball case. However, the window is open for the SRAP to comply with what is required by the POC. This goes for all NSAs. We will not tolerate violation of the policy of good governance. We realize the review is a long process but we are after strict compliance.”          

In resolving issues, here are 10 things to keep in mind.

• Be open to compromise but not when it comes to principles or rules.

• No presumption of ill will. When you come to the discussion table, don’t be antagonistic. There are no opposing sides because everyone is supposed to be on the same side – the idea is to promote and develop the sport.

• No suspicion of hidden agenda. Once you doubt someone’s sincerity, you’re not able to discuss intelligently because of the preconceived notion that the person you’re discussing with is biased.

• Do what is best for the sport. Everyone on the discussion table must pledge to do what is best for the sport, not for himself.

• Don’t put athletes in a bind. It’s unfair to make athletes choose sides. Athletes shouldn’t be loyal to individuals, they should be loyal only to their sport.

• Commit to abide by the rules of the IOC and POC. The POC has a mandate from the IOC with the authority to recognize the NSA to represent a sport in the General Assembly. The NSA is therefore obliged to follow the policies of the IOC and POC.

• Listen to athletes. Whether you’re with the POC or NSA, it’s important to listen to what the athletes say. Athletes are in the frontline of battle. They should be listened to.

• Never close doors. The concept of openness is key. You never shut the door on anyone who wants to help whether it’s to share an opinion or give advice or offer any kind of assistance.

• Treat everyone with respect. Whether you agree or disagree with someone on the discussion table, never lose respect for anyone. In the same way that you show respect, you will be shown respect. This will make for a healthy relationship and productive discussion.

• Leave the discussion table as friends. Life is too short to make enemies. No matter how heated a discussion is, you don’t break up harboring ill feelings. You start the discussion as friends and end the discussion as friends.

Volleyball stakeholder Boy Cantada said he will always be open to compromise for the sake of the sport. “I could lead the PVF (Philippine Volleyball Federation) to such compromise as well,” he said. “The initial issue by the POC against the PVF was leadership dispute. We were able to resolve that in no time. Where were they when volleyball was nothing? We started beach volleyball in 2004 at the Cantada Sports Center. The POC’s job is to resolve issues, not create them. They used influence in getting the international federation’s provisional sanction. They bullied the PVF. We will file for TROs and other relief available. Who will suffer in the end? We will not be able to hold or participate in IOC sanctioned events just like what happened to the BAP.”

 If conflict is inescapable in discussing issues, there should be a greater resolve in settling disputes right away so that everyone can begin to focus on the common goal of promoting and developing sports with genuine conviction.

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