PtG Article 27.11.2006

New FIABVB president will be watched closely

With boundless energy and speaking non-stop in three different languages Jean-Pierre Seppey, president of the new volleyball federation FIABVB, held the attention throughout the founding congress even though the room was full of people with whom he had fought bitterly during his time as secretary general of the FIVB.

Some had obviously decided to forgive - if not exactly forget - the role that Seppey had played in kicking them out of the FIVB.

Mario Goijman, who was expelled from the FIVB for questioning financial dispositions in the federation and later took Seppey and FIVB president Ruben Acosta to court, said that he still hated Seppey for what he did then.

”But I understand that he was fulfilling his job as general manager in a very loyal way.  Now I have accepted to share this table with him and I accept that he supports our ethical principles,” Goijman told participants in the congress.

Present were also Goran Valic who organises the Pro-Series Beach Volley international tour and Slovenian beach volley player Gregor Lah. Both of them had run-ins with Seppey four years ago when Seppey on behalf of the FIVB excluded players who took part in independent beach volley tournaments organised by Valic. The exclusions did not have any foundation in FIVB statutes and there was no transparency in the process or leave to appeal, Valic told Play the Game.

“I am not here because of Seppey. I am here because of the FIABVB. It is a good idea and we will see if they can live up to their promises,” said Valic who ended up being elected to the board of administration.

Fellow Slovenian Gregor Lah added:

“What is it you say? A wolf can change its coat, but not its nature. So he must understand that his past means that a lot of people will follow him very closely to see what his real motives are.”

Gregor Lah will be following developments closely as he was elected as one of the player’s representatives to the board of administration.

“I was not an accomplice”

The past not withstanding, Seppey won the election for president with not a single vote for the other candidate Idriss Adiker from the Republic of Chad.

But the new president still seems to find it difficult to answer directly when journalists ask him what prompted his change of heart and whether his history in the FIVB is a problem for him in the new federation.

“People could say I was an accomplice but that is not true. And the people here - Goran Valic, Louis Moreno and Mario Goijman - know that I was being loyal to my job then. If they thought I was egocentric, they would not be here,” Seppey told journalists covering the founding congress.

He added that during his time as secretary general of the FIVB he had introduced complete transparency in finance and that he had successfully run the FIVB during two years doing many good things when Acosta was ill.

Those things came to an end when Acosta came back to the FIVB in 2005 and fired Seppey and his closest staff. And it was then Seppey decided to put his efforts into establishing a new federation rather than fighting the FIVB and Acosta through the courts.

“The best way to kill a dictator is to create a new institution instead of spending a lot of money on lawyers. Acosta has 10 lawyers and pays one million Swiss francs to lawyers each year. Now we should show a positive example and build a transparent federation instead,” said Seppey.