PtG Article 26.05.2009

FIVB president promises democratic future to volleyball federations

The International Volleyball Federation, FIVB, is preparing to step out of the shadow of its former president Ruben Acosta. In a remarkable statement published on the FIVB website, president Jizhong Wei promises to make good what went wrong during Acosta's reign. No longer shall power be concentrated in the hands of one person, and the next presidential elections will be held in a democratic fashion.

Speaking at a meeting of the Asian Volleyball Confederation, Wei said that although the hard work of Ruben Acosta and his wife, Malu, was highly appreciated, problems had also developed. These included too much power concentrated in the hands of one person, insufficient adherence to democratic principles, supervision and openness, too much attention paid to benefits, lack of attention to continental federations, and poor relations with communities and organisations outside the FIVB.

 Wei has been elected to positions within the FIVB since 1982 and openly accepts that he shares responsibility for the situation within the federation:“I have to say to that I am also responsible for these mistakes, as I did not mention them when I discovered them. Now we have to correct them,” Wei said.Democratic elections for next presidentIn the statement, Wei makes a number of promises to the international volleyball community.Firstly, he will not seek re-election when his term expires in 2012. Secondly, when he steps down he promises to hold democratic elections for the next president.This will be a radical change with the most recent past where elections were held by show of hands or acclamation instead of secret ballots. Also, in the last election the formal qualifications to stand for president were so specific that they only matched one candidate, namely Ruben Acosta himself. ( FIVB rules make it impossible to challenge president)

Wei also promises that unlike his predecessor, he will not take commissions on sponsorship deals or television contracts he signs on behalf of the FIVB. As Play the Game recently reported,  the FIVB is currently taking steps to end the  policy of paying 10 per cent in commissions on television and sponsorship deals that has benefitted Ruben Acosta for a long time. (FIVB stops  practice that has enriched former president Acosta)“We will insist on transparency, democracy and the delegation of duties to the Continental Confederations and assist them. Only in this way can the power of the FIVB president be shared. The FIVB and its departments must serve the national federations and not command them,” Wei promises in the statement.