PtG Article 16.09.2010

FIVB President seeks to limit his own power

The quest for “more responsibility and less power” is what the President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) hopes will mark his presidency, he says in an interview with Around the Rings.

Jizhong Wei, who took over the post as President for the FIVB in 2008 after the much criticized Reuben Acosta, said in the interview that his goal is to “set up a democratic system and mechanism in order to limit the absolute power of the president”. “I hope to set up a scientific, democratic system in the governance of FIVB. “How to guide a democracy is to set up regulations and procedures. If we want to make any decisions, we should first put the democracy before, not after. In the past Acosta -- he made his decisions, then asked the general assembly or congress to approve it. I cannot say this is not democratic, but is democratic afterwards. “For me before I make any decision I listen to people and summarize, I know what is the majority’s willingness, and then I follow the majority.“If you have the responsibility, the national federations will give you the power to implement your responsibility. Not from the other way. Now I have full power and then less responsibility, all things are decided by me. This is perhaps a different philosophy as Dr. Acosta.” New President – new times ahead?Over the years, Play the Game has reported on a number of cases where Acosta’s financial dispositions have been criticized or his decision-making has been less than democratic. At the announcement of Acosta’s retirement, many critics questioned whether this would lead to serious changes or not. At the time of Wei’s inauguration it did not seem that much was going to change. At a press conference after he was elected President, Wei said that his task would be to implement and accomplish all the projects already initiated by Acosta, Play the Game reported in 2008.“We may have fresh ideas but these ideas started under the guidelines set up by the president. The most important legacy is the intellectual legacy of Dr. Acosta that has come from 24 years of hard work accumulated. These are my feelings as I take the baton from the hand of the president,” Wei told the press conference. Read the article: Acosta voluntarily gives up presidency of the FIVBPromise of more democracyHowever, it now seems as if Wei is stepping away from the style of governance initiated by Acosta and is moving the FIVB in the direction towards becoming a more democratic organization. Already in May 2009, Play the Game could report that Wei, in a statement at the FIVB website, promised to hold democratic elections for the next President when he steps down after his term ends in 2012.This is a radical change in the FIVB, as in the last election the formal qualifications to stand for president were so specific that they only matched one candidate, namely Ruben Acosta himself. Read the article: FIVB rules make it impossible to challenge presidentAnother key change introduced by Wei is the election of the continental federation board members by the continental associations instead of the congress as a whole, writes Around the Rings.“Before if we elect all the board members by Congress, it would be manipulation because the other federations don’t know the candidates of other federations, they will listen to the president. If the president didn’t like him, he is no good. I think this is logical and to avoid any kind of manipulation.” Additionally, the continental leaders are now guaranteed a spot on the FIVB executive committee. “All of these changes are a necessity. There is a common demand of all the federations. I just do something to reflect the need of the national federations. I did not take any initiative by myself. I am working to meet and try to satisfy all the national federations.” Freedom of expressionOn 10 September, the 2010 FIVB congress concluded and Wei expressed satisfaction with the meeting. “According to the reaction of all the delegates, nearly 100% they are happy. They say this is the first time they had freedom of expression. The success of the Congress will not be judged by me, or the board members, but all the participants.” SOURCE: Around the Rings (subscription)