Coach Petrov feels PATAFA trying to make Obiena look ‘like a criminal’

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2021 10:01 PM

PATAFA: It was Petrov who ‘made Obiena look bad’

The Ukrainian coach of EJ Obiena said the row between the Filipino Olympic pole-vaulter and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association has "severely" affected Obiena.

Vitaly Petrov added that when the PATAFA asked him about salary discrepancies he felt the sport's national governing body was set out to make Obiena "look like a criminal."

"I want to make this simple and final. This entire situation has severely impacted my ability to do my job and has severely affected EJ's mental state and ability to train. This must stop," Petrov said in a statement issued Wednesday night.

"This is destroying lives and careers for nothing."

The coach also alleged that PATAFA chief Philip Ella Juico questioned him heavily about the payment of his salary.

Petrov alleged he has never complained about late salary payments, adding that he has not reached out to any Philippine sports official about it.

"I have never proactively complained to anyone on EJ and payments, specifically never to PATAFA or to any Philippine sports official," he said.
"I was tricked. I answered it that way because I honestly thought that it would help unburden EJ of his unnecessary role of managing my payments . . . I never could have imagined it would be used in the way it is used now as a weapon to destroy a promising career.

"I mistakenly answered his questionnaire according to the way he wanted me to which is to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal."

Obiena, the Asian record holder in pole vault, found himself embroiled in controversy after PATAFA ordered him to return 85,000 euros (around P4.5 million) in funds intended for Petrov's salary.

Juico alleged that Petrov told the PATAFA he was not being paid his salary since 2018. He said added PATAFA has a signed document from Petrov detailing his salary concerns.

"I hereby formally withdraw any prior statements of documents association to me. This is the only document that may be attributed to myself," said Petrov.

"I will be making no further statements. I have athletes who need me. I do not have more time to waste on this proverbial 'witch hunt.'"

Juico responds 

Juico, meanwhile, fired back at Petrov saying that it was the coach who put Obiena in this situation.

"He answered questions we asked. I didn’t answer. He was the one who volunteered the facts that made Obiena look bad," the PATAFA official told ABS-CBN News. "His statement is unneeded at this time, he had already spoken."

Juico also alleged that Petrov apparently collected twice based from their documents.

"He’s singing, like a juke box, a different tune. He made me and PATAFA a collection agent. And he’s happy having collected twice because he was also paid from 2018-21 based on documents while crying has way to the bank," said the sports official.

"Petrov is a PATAFA coach under contract, coaching a PATAFA athlete, both of whom remain our jurisdiction."

The PATAFA chief also questioned the matter how Petrov issued his latest statement.

"(The) statement was in almost impeccable American England, so unlike Petrov who needed translation help provided by Sergey Bubka when they called me to report his not being paid since 2018," he said.


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