SPORTS KEN: Stinking sports corruption

More athletes, it is now being reported, are coming out to spill the beans on dirty practices of officials belonging to various national sports associations (NSAs).

PSC Com. Ramon Fernandez, who revealed the recent shenanigan that involved karate athletes, reported that more NSA irregularities will be exposed when athletes’ complaints are processed accordingly.

Let me point out that this sports corruption issue is not new.

Since the birth of the Philippine Sports Commission in 1990, the NSAs enjoyed so much financial blessings from the government that mendicancy became a household word.

Because there was a great splurge in government subsidy – money was awash – the commission of graft and other forms of corruption was then imminent involving collusion and connivance with those who had the say.

A task force created by PSC chairman Butch Ramirez will handle the athletes’ complaints, which I believe, will come in torrents.

I had written here before the “tragedy” that befell karatedo athletes who were undergoing training in Germany early last year. As revealed by Fernandez, the athletes received just a portion of the $1,800 ($90 per day for 20 days) allocated by the PSC for each member of the training team.

This is only one of the various malpractices that has been going on for many years, decades I would say. In my coverage of SEA Games abroad, I used to hear athletes complaining about how why their allowances are handled by a team official instead of they (athletes concerned) themselves managing their own monies individually during the competition.

Fernandez should also examine the type and quality of the equipment national athletes are using. Some NSAs have business connections with suppliers and you know that one plus one is more than what you normally think of.

Cleansing the sports ranks of corrupt officials must be in parallel with the desire and campaign of Pres. Duterte to get rid of thieves in government.

The NSAs have been claiming they belong to the NGO sector and as private groups they are not subject to COA auditing and liquidation.

Technically, that’s correct. But they forget that they are using taxpayers’ money that the government subsidizes them with.

This is about the first serious attempt (in so many years) by any sports commissioner to get down deeper into such an anomaly. There have been similar situations in the past but I do not recall seeing one going beyond the first stage.

Ningas kugon lang, ika nga.

Athletes who have been shortchanged by their respective NSA officials will send in their written grievances but I doubt if they will all come out into the open.

Athletes are afraid of repercussions. They could lose their status as members of the national team if the probe does not prosper and the involved NSA people are not kicked out.

So, the burden is really on the shoulders of Fernandez who I believe is doing a good job of protecting the athletes’ welfare.

If the good commissioner can assure the athletes’ involved that they will remain in good graces despite having come out against their respective NSAs, I would reckon they will come out into the open.

Mind you, if the athletes do come out, their revelations will shock the entire Philippine sports world. (Email your feedback to Eph. 4:26-27: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.” GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!