'Semi-pro' leagues like the MPBL, PSL and PVL will need backing from a government agency for an approval to resume practices, according to the Games and Amusements Board (GAB)
GAB: 'Semi-pro' leagues need backing of a government agency for practice resumption
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - July 5, 2020 - 5:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — For “semi-pro” leagues like Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, Premier Volleyball League and Philippine Superliga to be allowed to resume practices, it must have a government agency to vouch for them just like what the Games and Amusement Board did for pro basketball, football and boxing.

GAB chairman Abraham Mitra said the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to allow the PBA, the Philippine Football League and pro-boxing to resume training was facilitated by them being the accountable agency should one of their people get infected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The DOH (Department of Health) asked us before we were given approval 'what’s our control?' Since it concerns health, there should be someone accountable. Now if GAB is there, we will be accountable to the DOH and IATF if there will be contamination or transmission there,” said Mitra, whose GAB is a government regulation agency in charge of pro sports, in a recent interview with Radyo Singco 92.3 News FM.

“MPBL wanted to practice, to start their league. But who will watch them? Of course, the local government unit will be there. But still a national agency should regulate and make sure minimum health protocols are in place,” he added.

Mitra said they had already approached the MPBL, PVL and PSL to be under GAB’s jurisdiction, but all three refused saying they are still semi-pro or amateur in nature.

“We have reached out to them. You know, they don’t want to admit they’re pros, which is sad because according to (PSC) chairman (Butch) Ramirez, as long as you are paid and do not play for flag, then you’re a professional and so they should be under the government through GAB,” said Mitra.

“We talked to the volleyball leagues, MPBL, they all refused,” he added.

Ricky Palou, president of Sports Vision that organizes the PVL, for his part, insisted they remain a school-based, amateur league, which means the regulatory body in charge of them is the Philippine Sports Commission.

“We will write the PSC a letter to help us in our request to the IATF,” said Palou, whose group also handles the Spikers’ Turf or the country’s lone men’s volley league.

The PSL can also seek refuge from the PSC since, like the PSL and Spikers’ Turf, it has some of the players who represented the country in international meets like the Southeast Asian Games last December.

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