PtG Article 10.08.2007

FIVB suspends volleyball federation in San Marino

The volleyball federation in the tiny state of San Marino has been suspended by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV). The suspension is a reaction to interference from the National Olympic Committee in San Marino, which has dismissed the president and board members elected by the San Marino federation in 2005 and replaced them with others.

The suspension means that volleyball players and teams in San Marino can not take part in any international activities and competitions. That means a lot to people in San Marino who in 2006 voted volleyball the most popular sport in the republic, CEV’s newsletter e-News reported last year.

The dispute has lasted more than two years

The dispute between the San Marino Volleyball Federation (FSPAV) and the national Olympic Committee has lasted over two years and been in and out of local court rooms but with no resolution. The FSPAV continues to support Paul Rondelli who was elected president in 2005, whereas the Olympic Committee on its website recognises Gian Luigi Lazzarini as volleyball president.

According to FIVB documents placed on FSPAV’s website, FIVB tried to broker a deal in May this year, whereby San Marino teams were allowed to take part in the Small Countries Games in Monaco provided that the FSPAV organised new elections for the board under the rules that applied in 2005 before the end of June.

The San Marino teams played in the Small Countries Games but there were no elections called in June, and on 2 July the FIVB and CEV applied the ultimate sanction of suspending the FSPAV.

The Olympic Committee says the problem is solved

Suspensions of federations from international competitions is a measure employed by many international sports federations to force other actors to leave national federations alone. It has been used with success by FIFA in Greece and Poland and also by the International Athletics Association.

In the case of San Marino, the suspension also seems to have forced the National Olympic Committee to rethink its position.

According to the website San Marino Notizie, the National Olympic Committee has made a deal with André Meyer, president of the European Volleyball Confederation, which could lead to lifting the suspension.

The deal means that new elections for the board of FSPAV will be organised in August in a meeting presided over by André Meyer and a representative from the National Olympic Committee.

So far the deal has not been confirmed on the websites of FSPAV or the CEV.