Pinoy tennis stars call on PHILTA to act on ITF ban

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2020 02:18 PM

Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines returns against compatriot Cecil Mamiit in the men's single final at the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane on December 18, 2009. Conrad Huey won the silver medal. File photo. Bay Ismoyo, AFP

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino tennis players are expressing their alarm as Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) has yet to address the issues that led to a two-year suspension from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The national sports association (NSA) for tennis was handed the sanction by the ITF, with federation president David Haggerty branding PHILTA as having an "exclusive membership base," which does not qualify them to be an NSA.

Haggerty has also asked PHILTA of their plan of action when it comes to diversifying its membership, so that an election may take place. The ITF president previously noted that NSAs must be composed of regional representatives of various sports organizations, which must be presided over by sporting clubs themselves.

Despite the sanction handed by the world governing body of tennis, PHILTA has apparently yet to take action which has alarmed the country's top players.

"I have heard rumors about the ITF suspending PHILTA. If my fellow players are barred from the Davis Cup and other international team competitions, it would be a huge blow to our livelihood in an already trying time," said Treat Huey, the veteran doubles specialist.

"The athletes should not suffer because of the shortcomings of PHILTA which we have no control over and are not even made aware of," he added. "I really hope that there will be positive changes moving forward, starting off with the holding of an election."

Huey said he hopes to see a "more efficiently-run organization" that will prioritize the country's tennis players, especially as they want to return to action in 2021 after a difficult year that saw tournaments wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnny Arcilla, another veteran, lamented the impact that PHILTA's suspension will have on the junior players.

"Kailangan ayusin agad ng PHILTA itong gusot na ito, make positive changes for the betterment of Philippine tennis by instituting programs for national athletes," he said. 

"Kawawa kaming mga players, especially the national team players, ang upcoming junior players na apektado nitong suspension na 'to," he added.

National team player Francis Alcantara has already previously expressed his disgust at the situation brought about by PHILTA's negligence in addressing the issues highlighted by the ITF.

Because of the ITF suspension, PHILTA cannot participate in official ITF team competitions, such as the Davis Cup. They also cannot apply for funding from the ITF.

Despite the suspension, PHILTA was allowed to vote in the Philippine Olympic Committee elections last week. 

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