NATIONAL Electronic Sports Federation of the Philippines President Ramon “Tats” Suzara yesterday stressed he is not picking a fight with either the Philippine Olympic Committee or the Philippine Esports Organization over the latter’s recognition as an associate member of the POC.
Suzara, the chief operating officer of the 30th Philippine Southeast Asian Games where esports made its debut as a medal sport, said he is open to a dialogue with the POC leadership and PESO to resolve the issue.
“Puwede namang pag-usapan ito. I am willing to dialog with both the POC and PESO. Huwag lang imadali because of the technicalities involved,” he said.
Suzara issued a press statement last Sunday questioning the POC’s recognition of PESO, which was approved during its online general assembly meeting last Aug. 29, since no international federation for esports has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
There are two international esports organizations vying for IOC recognition: the International Esports Federation based in Busan, South Korea, and the Singapore-based Global Esports Federation, which the NESFP is affiliated with.
Among those sitting on the GESF board is IOC vice president Ng Ser Miang, whom Suzara claimed is a friend.
PESO was welcomed to the POC family through the endorsement of golf secretary general Bones Floro, the head of the POC membership committee, with the support of POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino.
Tolentino was quoted as saying that PESO had “successfully complied with all the requisites for (associate) membership.”
Suzara claimed the general assembly decided on PESO’s recognition without being fully briefed on the matter, citing the lengthy and detailed letter he sent to the POC last Sept. 3 that explained the issues involved.
He added that he had written the POC as early as last March regarding the NESP’s application for POC membership but had not received any reply so far.
“Kapag may technicality na ganyan di naman ako makakapayag noon, rule ‘yan kasi. Since
March pa ako nakipag-usap. I was very patient pero walang nangyari,” he stressed.
“Matagal na rin naman ako sa sports so I am aware of the rules.
“I believe the general assembly was misinformed. Di nag-research si Bones. Mali naman ‘yon,” he said.
He reiterated that PESO had no hand in the staging of the esports competition that debuted as a medal sport in the SEA Games, with Filipino campaigners garnering three gold, one silver and one bronze medals out of six events.
Suzara also noted that he was invited by the Olympic Council of Asia to be an observer during the esports competition in the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia.
“I was invited to be an observer in the Asian Games through former Olympic Council Asia vice president Wei Jizhong, who is the OCA adviser for esports, since we were planning to include it as a medal sport for the SEA Games,” Suzara said.
Jizhong is the OCA adviser for esports, heads the body’s ethics committee, and a close associate of Suzara. The Chinese sports official served as president of the Asian Volleyball Confederation from 2001 to 2008.
Suazara was not shy in noting his close ties with Wei and the other top members of OCA led by Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.
“Ako ang kaalyado ng OCA,” Suzara said.