The World Athletics, through its president Sebastian Coe, twice Olympic middle-distance gold medalist and holder of three world records in one year, reiterated in a letter to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association dated February 10, 2022 the athletics body’s right to resolve, “in accordance with stated processes and procedures in the Federation’s Constitution or applicable relevant rules and that these are run fairly for all concerned.”
Coe, who is now on his second term of the world’s premier international federation of a sport that is the centerpiece of any Olympic-type sporting event, wrote PATAFA president Dr. Philip Ella Juico after the PATAFA Board of Trustees updated the WA on certain actions the NSA took to promote accountability and integrity among its athletes and the entire NSA.
In his letter, Coe stated that, “as previously stated, we consider this (the procedures undertaken by the PATAFA Board and the Committee assigned to undertake the necessary investigations), an internal matter.”
He added, “We encourage all internal disputes of a Member to be resolved with stated processes and procedures.”
Coe reemphasized the fact that the PATAFA is a member of World Athletics and “as such is the sole governing body of Athletics in the Philippines. He added that under the World Athletics Constitution (Article 9) regarding the obligations of Member Federations, PATAFA amongst other things are responsible for: administering, promoting and developing Athletics in the Philippines in accordance with the purposes of World Athletics; and democratically electing or appointing its officers and executive body.
To remove any doubt as to the legitimacy and the right of its present officers and Board of Trustees to assume their respective roles and responsibilities despite the overreaching acts of certain parties, Coe asserted, “We can confirm that PATAFA and its current office bearers are set out in the World Athletics website.”
For good measure, Coe added, “The outcome of the last PATAFA elective general assembly held on 10 November 2021 was that Dr. Philip Juico was elected as the office bearer of President.”
A representative from the Philippine Olympic Committee was present during the elective assembly.
In exercise of his responsibility, as duly elected by authorized voters of the PATAFA, Coe reported that “Dr. Philip Juico was the voting delegate for the Philippine Member Federation at the World Athletics Congress held on 17-18 November 2021.”
To heighten the active participation of the PATAFA leadership in World Athletics initiatives and the latter’s full support of and alignment with Mr. Coe’s priorities, the World Athletics president who was head of the 2012 London Olympics Organizing Committee and was credited with its overall success and financial transparency, proclaimed that “Dr. Philip Juico was also a member of the World Athletics Governance and Integrity Reform working Group and the Values Commission and provided valuable inputs to support the implementation and promotion of these critical areas of work, which are fundamental to underpin our sport and the governance of Athletics.”
Coe ends his letter saying, “I trust this letter clarifies our position with regard to PATAFA.”
Informed of Coe’s and the World Athletics’ support in the midst of the confusion created by certain sports groups on the prerogatives of each element of the Philippine elite sports system, particularly the NSAs who administer the country’s elite sports development, PATAFA chairman, Deputy Speaker, Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez from Cagayan de Oro City said: “We thank Lord Sebastian Coe who was once a Member of the British Parliament, for his succinct grasp of the issues and his very clear response regarding the work of PATAFA in upholding the values of World Athletics. This statement defines our working relationship with other sports stakeholders. We should be guided by it and work in harmony.”
Another senior member of the PATAFA Board of Trustees, Cebu-based businessman and sports and civic leader, Felix Tiukinhoy Jr., stated, “This statement should settle with finality the metes and bounds of all sports stakeholders especially with respect to the role of PATAFA. This statement should put a stop to overreaching and serve as an inspiration to other NSAs who look with concern at the actuations of sports leaders.”