PtG Article 21.04.2009

FIVB stops practice that has enriched former president Acosta

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) is getting ready to shut down a very lucrative financial arrangement that has benefited its former president and current honorary president, Ruben Acosta, for years. FIVB leaders have asked the next World Congress to delete an article in FIVB's financial regulations that says that FIVB members can receive 10 per cent commission on the value of all sponsorship and television contracts they sign on behalf of the organisation.

Ruben Acosta ruled the FIVB with an iron fist for 24 years before his sudden and unexpected decision to step down from the presidency just after the Beijing Olympics. Now his successor, Jizhong Wei from China, appears to have started a showdown with Acosta's legacy by calling for changes that would have been unthinkable less than a year ago.

During his reign, Acosta amassed personal fortunes by taking commissions on the contracts he negotiated or signed on behalf of the FIVB – a practice that was condemned by the IOC's Ethics Commission in 2003 in a decision which said that “money from sport should go to sport” and not to sports leaders.Acosta has tried to fight decisionAccording to the Mexican newspaper, El Universal, the new FIVB president Jizhong Wei sent a letter in March to Acosta, and all members of the board of administration, which stated that the ethical principle of the IOC is "that money from sport should go to sport"and this principle applies to all recognised international sports federations, including the FIVB."The decision to end the practice of paying commissions to FIVB members was then taken by FIVB's Board of Administration in early April, and according to a press release from the FIVB, the decision has been forwarded to the FIVB World Congress for final approval.According to  El Universal, Ruben Acosta has tried to fight the decision and particularly the possible suspension of payment of commission on contracts he has already signed on behalf of the FIVB. The newspaper has obtained a copy of an analysis carried out by the FIVB's legal department, which concluded that it was not possible to stop paying commissions retroactively, but it was possible to stop them in the future. Wei calls for transparency and democracyAnd the future may indeed be changing for  the FIVB and its honorary life president Ruben Acosta, if Wei is to be believed.  Speaking at a press conference in Prague in early April, the new FIVB president stressed three key points he wants to develop during his presidency:“First of all, FIVB should stand for transparency and democracy. Then I emphasize again that money coming from sport belongs to sport. And last but not least, I would like to be a president for the concerns of both the National Federations and the players. They are the most important actors in our wonderful sport.”