Stakeholders laud ITF Philta intervention

Date Published: OCTOBER 31, 2017

STAKEHOLDERS calling for change in the Philippine Tennis Association welcomed the International Tennis Federation’s demand to the troubled association to clean up its act or face sanctions.

ITF president David Haggerty wrote Philta expressing disappointment over the long-standing leadership crisis brought about by the resignation of Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez and the two subsequent elections that didn’t get the blessing of the ITF and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

“We have been demanding for Philta officials to make improvements in running the association because it has already derailed the development of tennis in the country for so long,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, a long-time patron of tennis and board member of Philta.

“We are happy that the ITF has finally stepped in on this matter that has divided not only the leadership of the tennis association but also the hopes and dreams of our future tennis stars,” said board member Randy Villanueva.

The group of Lhuillier and Villanueva had exposed the issues inside Philta, ruing its very exclusive nature and lack of programs, and questioned the legitimacy of the June 2017 election of Antonio Cablitas as Philta president.

In his letter, Haggerty said the ITF, like the POC, continues to recognize Olivarez as rightful Philta chief and told Philta to amend its charter to expand the membership before holding an election.

The ITF gave Philta until Nov. 15 to submit a list of current members, qualifications and criteria for membership and a clear plan of action for how Philta intends to make changes to expand the representation of its membership.

It also tasked Philta to file reports of its accomplishments for the last 2-3 years such as the number of tournaments organized, number of coaching training sessions, number of training camps, and list of international competitions that the Philippines participated in.

The group contended that “the content of the report does not look promising as it’s a well-known fact that almost all the tennis activities happening in the country for the last few years have been initiated by private sponsors such as Cebuana Lhuillier, Palawan Pawnshop, Dunlop, Babolat, and Toby’s Sports, among others, and tennis patrons such as Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop president and CEO Bobby Castro.”