MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Tuesday announced that it will supervise the elections for the national sports association for volleyball later this month.
This is upon the request of the sport's governing body, the FIVB, which does not fully recognize either the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) or the Philippine Volleyball Federation (PVF) as the official national sports association (NSA) for volleyball in the Philippines.
POC president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino confirmed they will be hands-on in the electoral process, which is set either in the third or fourth week of January.
The FIVB, through its director general Fabio Azevedo, wrote Tolentino on December 7 to reiterate the international federation's desire for Philippine volleyball to hold elections. This was already the second time that FIVB communicated with the POC after it first wrote Tolentino in August 2020.
"There was already a request from the FIVB some time ago to hold a volleyball election before the FIVB's general assembly this February," Tolentino said.
"Without a legitimate NSA, we cannot send national teams to FIVB-sanctioned tournaments abroad," he pointed out. "Therefore, we will ask all volleyball stakeholders to cooperate and participate in the elections."
Tolentino was speaking after the POC Executive Board held its first meeting for 2021 at the East Ocean Garden Restaurant in Pasay City.
As of January 2020, the LVPI was "provisionally affiliated" with the FIVB, while the PVF "lost all of its rights" except affiliation as it was not recognized as an official NSA by the POC.
The LVPI was formed in 2015 and has run the national team program ever since. It sent volleyball teams to several international events including the 2015, 2017, and 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and the 2018 Asian Games.
In his December letter, Azevedo stressed that the FIVB wants the Philippine volleyball body to be formed before its World Congress that will be held virtually on February 5 to 7.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to kindly ask you to schedule a date as soon as possible for these democratic elections with the participation of all relevant stakeholders," wrote Azevedo, who also congratulated Tolentino for his election as POC head.
"It would be beneficial if the elections occur before the FIVB World Congress, which is scheduled for 5-7 February 2021, to ensure that the results can be presented to the FIVB World Congress," he added.
Tolentino stressed that the matter was "urgent."
"The FIVB wanted to recognize a legitimate volleyball NSA before its World Congress," he said.
Tolentino said a committee will be created to supervise the volleyball NSA elections.