THE war is not yet over.
University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) board member Ricky Palou told me that, downplaying the reaffirmation by the general assembly of the Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) of the membership in FISU of the Federation of School Sports Associations of the Philippines (FESSAP).
Palou, an athletic director of Ateneo De Manila University, said the fight of UAAP-National Games to gain recognition in FISU as the country’s only legitimate member in Universiade is not over yet since their application remains to be “in process at the FISU executive committee.”
“Our bid to be recognized is not over yet,” Palou told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview. “After the general assembly last July 3 and 4, our application paper has been sent now to FISU’s executive committee for proper scrutiny.”
“Our papers are on the process of review and thorough evaluation. We’re expecting FISU to recognize us this year since we can prove to them that ever since the time of Sonny Jaworski Sr. during 60’s it is the UAAP that sent athletes in the Universiade and not FESSAP,” Palou said.
Palou, who also went to Kazan, Russia on July 3 to 4, also said they are supported and endorsed by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), headed by President Jose Cojuangco Jr. and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) under Chairman Richie Garcia.
He thanked the FISU for the warm welcome they received during the general assembly, saying that: “Soon UAAP will achieve its goal of being recognized as Philippines’ representative in Universiade games.”
Palou went to Kazan, Russia along with fellow board member Emmanuel Fernandez and POC Secretary-General Steve Hontiveros to attend to the General Assembly and apply as the country’s legitimate representative in Universiade games.
He also admitted that the UAAP has unanimously agreed not to allow their respective student athletes to participate under the FESSAP banner in this year’s edition of Universiade Games “because of many reasons.”
“We have a policy in our UAAP by-laws that we can’t allow our athletes to join in any other competition as long as the league is ongoing,” he said. “At the same time, we cannot sacrifice the studies of our athletes since it is their main priority.”
Asked if there is any chance to hold talks with FESSAP officials, Palou said: “There is always a chance to cooperate and make things better.”
But Palou said the UAAP-National Games will pursue its bid to be recognized in FISU.
He also denied the information given by FESSAP to FISU that they only have eight school members.
“Yes, UAAP is composed only of eight schools, but we also have the national games which have many schools members around the country,” he explained. “That’s why we are very optimistic that our application will be accepted.”
The Philippine Olympic Committee’s chief, Jose Cojuangco Jr., has also said that UAAP is the most recognized association, more recognized than FESSAP, to represent the country.