Philta head unwilling to give in to conditions set by ITF
It’s still deuce for the embattled Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) and its programs as Philta president Antonio Cablitas said that he is willing to hold elections but won’t include former officials whom he accuses of masterminding the two-year suspension the agency was slapped with by the international federation. Holding elections is what the International Tennis Federation (ITF) wants, but excluding a group will run counter to that as the Philta was directly instructed to include officials who have since formed Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP).
Including them in the proceedings, according to ITF, is in keeping with its call for inclusiveness and membership reforms. Cablitas, in a statement on the Philta Facebook page, said the officials of the UTP started off the independent tribunal, which formed the basis of the suspension.
In that tribunal, Cablitas said he was not included and given due process. He claimed that he can hold a new election even in January as recommended by the ITF, but he will not include UTP officials.
But the UTP, led by former Philta chair and longtime sponsor Jean Henri Lhuillier, issued a statement saying “as the president, he should be offering solutions how to get out of this mess and embarrassment for Philippine tennis.”
UTP said Cablitas’ attitude is “worrisome” because it could prolong the ITF sanction instead of working out a deal to lift it.Former Davis Cup captain Roland Kraut and former national team stalwart Rod Rafael joined the call for unity in Philippine tennis, which now can’t stage tournaments and join team competitions, among other penalties.
“The suspension saddens me. It is useless to point fingers and look for somebody to blame,” said Kraut, a many-time national coach. “Time to put pride on the side and think only of one thing: Tennis players.” Rafael called for support of Cablitas’ leadership but wants a dialogue among stakeholders. “Let us get rid of divisiveness and unite with one common goal,” said Rafael in Philta’s FB page. “Let’s hear your suggestions and plans so we can help each other.”
Several other current members of the national team have also called on Philta to adhere to the ITF conditions and help lift the two-year suspension. That includes Francis Casey Alcantara, Johnny Arcilla, Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales. INQ
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