Volleyball: Team owners will decide if PVL will turn pro, Palou says

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2020 03:49 PM

Sports Vision president Ricky Palou, together with PVL stars Alyssa Valdez and Dzi Gervacio, and team manager Tony Boy Liao. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines -- It will be up to the owners of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) teams to decide if they will turn professional or remaina semi-professional league, Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said.

Palou told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday that league owners have been in contact with him after the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) released a joint resolution, where they drew a line between professional and amateur sports.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra noted that if an athlete gets paid and does not play for the national team, then he or she is a professional.

"I'm not gonna decide that on my own," Palou said in a phone interview. "I will let the teams be the one to decide, kung ano ba, gusto ba niyo mag-pro or do you want to stay amateur. So 'yun 'yung situation namin sa PVL."

"They've been texting me because they saw the joint statement of PSC and GAB, 'di ba. So what's happening here? Sabi ko, it's up to you, you decide. Whatever course you want to take," he added.

"What I'm going to do is I'm going to explain to them all of this, so ipaliwanag sa kanila what's happening," he said.

In December 2016, GAB sent a cease and desist letter to Palou and Sports Vision Management Group, which organizes the PVL. There, the agency noted that the league "is not among the amateur leagues played solely by school/collegiate teams," nor is it supervised by the PSC.

At the time, GAB gave Sports Vision 30 days to obtain the appropriate permits for their games and license for all their players. A subsequent request for reconsideration filed by Palou was denied in January 2017.

Palou said he has filed an appeal to the Office of the President regarding GAB's decision.

"So in-appeal ko sa Office of the President during that time. So, the Office of the President, they received the letter pero until now naka-pending pa. Everything is pending. So that's where it is now," he said.

Palou is admittedly reluctant to turn the PVL professional. Founded in 2004 as the Shakey's V-League, the PVL currently has nine club teams but also features a Collegiate Conference every season, where several UAAP and NCAA teams compete.

"Gastos lang 'yan eh, 'di ba," Palou said of turning professional. "Ang laki na ng ginagastos ng teams tapos dadagdagan pa ng gastos sa mga permits of the GAB and all that."

During an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning, Mitra stressed that the agency can make allowances for leagues when it comes to licensing fees.

"For new leagues, the board, we've been very lenient. Kung meron silang request na, 'Sir baka pwedeng mababa lang muna, we are a growing league,' sabi ko no problem, I will ask the approval of the board, and the board has been very responsive," Mitra said.

"So 'yung fees, that's a non-issue," he added, revealing that some licenses cost as low as P1,000 a year. "The fees, the GAB has always been responsive. Kung merong mga request ng reduction, okay lang."

The Philippine Superliga has already said it is trending towards turning professional, though at the moment, the league feels it is not yet ready for that move. 

Palou, for his part, said they will take the option under consideration, but stressed that the decision is not up to him.

"Hindi ko naman sinasarado," he said. "(The team owners) will decide, not me. Kasi 'pag sinabi kong mag-pro tayo eh ayaw nila, 'di umalis sa akin lahat 'yun, 'di ba. So let them decide."