Crucial Philta election set April 28

Published April 19, 2017, 2:00 AM

by Nick Giongco

The Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (Philta) will hold an election of officers on April 28, but it remains unclear whether this will end the impasse at the troubled association which has been the object of a bitter power struggle between entrenched old guards and a group identified as reformers.

The election will decide if Jean Henri Lhuillier will be finally allowed to lead the association or if the same faction that has ruled the association for more three decades will stay on.

Hopes are high that there will a changing of the guard after Philta officer-in-charge Romy Magat said yesterday that his group, identified with the old officers, held talks with Lhuillier last month indicating their willingness to hand over the helm of the association to Lhuillier.

“Our group is willing to give it to him as per our meetings with him,” said Magat.

But some sources said the two sides were still ironing some details particularly the composition of the board.

A pre-election meeting is set on Friday to set the parameters of the election to insure a smooth and trouble free polls, Magat said.

Interim Philta president Edwin Olivarez and his father Pablo, a former Philta president, and other high-ranking officials have confirmed their attendance.

But Lhuillier’s presence is uncertain since he said he has a previous engagement on that day. A request to hold the meeting a day after or before Friday was reportedly rejected since all the other members of the association also have prior engagements.

Lhuillier, however, has expressed his desire to participate in the election and said in an earlier interview that he was willing to discuss the issues facing the sport with other officials and stakeholders.

Lhuillier is the candidate of a group of influential tennis stakeholders to take over the association. However, his bid has been repeatedly thwarted by the old guards of Philta who have controlled the association for decades.

The dissatisfaction with the past Philta leadership boiled over during a reorganizational meeting last February that saw Lhuillier’s group stage a walk out that forced the Philippine Olympic Committee to nullify the result of the election.

The walkout was followed by withdrawals of leading tennis stakeholders Palawan Pawnshop, Cebuana Lhuillier, Tru-Flex, Toby’s, Wilson, BMEG, Henry Sy Memorial Age Group, Dunlop, Babolat and the PCA Open from the umbrella of Philta.

The Philippine Olympic Committee has approved the holding of the election but will not give its formal recognition unless it is convinced that the election has been conducted according to prescribed rules.

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