Monday, December 22, 2014

Fair Play: Messy politics leaves volleyball in the muck

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Dec. 15 edition)
NEXT to basketball, what's the most popular sport in the country? Football is making strides, and so is running. But do you know what sport could lay claim as the Number 2 sport in the country and one that has mass appeal?


Lately, domestic volleyball has taken tremendous strides, there's the V-League and the Super Liga, and the collegiate scenes in Manila and Cebu are also both crowd drawers.

If you speak of mass appeal, there's the bastardized version of the sport, the dayon-dayon volleyball, which you’d see played in slums. And if you say it's for the effeminate, think again, as majority of those who play the game are men built like warriors.

Basketball in the Philippine took a sad turn when politics led to our ban from international competition almost 10 years ago. But now, it seems volleyball is mirroring that as political play is now the focus of its officers.

Take the weird situation the Philippine Volleyball Federation has found itself in—there are two sets of officers but one president in Karl Chan. How that happened has got to be a record of sorts in the history of political power play in Philippine sports.

As the lone president in a highly-factionalized association, I wish Chan would referee a winner-take-all match between the rivals, with the victors getting recognized as legitimate officers.

Because as power plays go, this won't end soon, and volleyball all over the country will be affected as the stakeholders will be either forced to choose sides, or be painted into a corner as they make sure not to offend any side.

Such is the sad situation in the PVF and what would that mean for Cebu, which has a growing volleyball scene? I don't know, short of taking the lead in forming a separate association for beach volleyball, Cebu will just have to wait out this latest swing in Manila's leadership struggle.

This sad development, and the improvements in the volleyball scene, shows that with the proper leadership, volleyball in the country could have been as great as basketball, with the same mass base.

But we need the right people running the federation, and how can you get them if they are busy fighting each other?

And are we sure that these two factions have the sport's interest—and not their
positions—in mind?

Poor Philippine volleyball, this latest power play has left the sport in the muck.

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