Volley unification talks on hold

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    THE PVL and PSL have entered talks for a unified volleyball league, but Sports Vision president Ricky Palou said discussing the issue further at this time of coronavirus pandemic is ill-timed.
    “I don’t think this is the right time to discuss this (unity). We would look insensitive to what’s happening now,” stated Palou in an interview with philstar.com.
    “But we will get there when this (COVID-19 crisis) is all over,” added Palou, whose group organizes the Premier Volleyball League.
    Palou had earlier confirmed he had talked with Philippine Superliga chairman Philip Ella Juico while stressing that “we’re working out on some key issues.”
    The two leagues have actually agreed in principle to hold a unified tournament as early as September last year, even setting a July 2020 event in both the reinforced and all-Filipino conferences that will follow each league’s respective tournaments.
    But all that changed in the face of the pandemic, which disrupted all sports axtivities worldwide for the year.
    “Initially, the tournament is set this year but with how the things are going with the coronavirus and everything, baka next year na,” said Palou.
    “We are working towards a common goal of hopefully unifying volleyball and merge the PSL and PVL,” said PSL president Dr. Ian Laurel, who like Palou is also looking forward to resuming the unity talks if and when the lockdown is lifted and things normalize.
    “As soon as the government announces that it is safe to hold sporting events again such as the PBA, or volleyball tournaments such as ours, we will get back to work and get back where we left off in our talks,” added Laurel.
    The two leagues’ main concern would be the guidelines and format, including the duration of the tournament with one side looking for a longer campaign featuring all teams of both leagues and the other leaning on staging a shorter one.
    Also to be tackled are the officiating and the broadcast with PVL games aired on ABS CBN Sports + Action Channel and TV5 the broadcast partner of PSL.
    “There are still things that we need to settle like the officiating and the tournament format, among others,” said Laurel. “So I cannot say that it’s a go. But both parties are 100 percent committed on working together.”

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