PtG Article 31.01.2007

Sports minister in Togo refused to punish volley leader for FIVB

The sports minister in the African country of Togo has refused a request from the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to exclude a vice president of Togo's volleyball federation after he had taken part in the founding congress of the new international World Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Federation (WVBF).

"This step from the international federation is not very courteous and it is exaggerated," Richard AtipoŽ, the minister of youth and sport told a press conference in Togo which was covered by the Agence de Presse Africaine.

Thereby the FIVB appears to have lost its first confrontation with the new international volleyball federation World Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Federation (WVBF) that was founded in Copenhagen at the end of November last year.

The FIVB had asked the Togolese volleyball federation to exclude one of its vice presidents, Corneille Kpatcha, for taking part in the founding congress in Copenhagen without the mandate of his federation.

But the sports minister said that Kpatcha had taken part in the congress as an individual and that "it is a Togolese problem which must be regulated according to the rules in Togo."

According to WVBF president Jean-Pierre Seppey, Kpatcha will be standing for elections to the national volleyball presidency in Togo in April this year.

Africa will be the scene of contest

Africa will be the scene of contest between the old and the new international volleyball federations. Jean-Pierre Seppey tells Play the Game that WVBF will be travelling to Africa in the beginning of Februar to meet with 15 presidents of national volleyball federations who are currently members of the FIVB.

They will be met with resistance from the FIVB that according to Seppey already has sent Baba Sy, the vice president of the African Confederation of Volleyball, on tour to various African countries including Togo to try and stop WVBF progress.

"But more and more national associations are joining us because of our democratic and ethical principles,"says Seppey.

The president of of WVBF is, however, not ready to provide Play the Game with a list of its members.

"In a number of national federations the decision to join WVBF is already taken by the president or executive committee but wait for ratification from their general assemblies. These will be held in January, February or March 2007, and therefore we have decided only to announce the affiliated national federations at the end of May just before the international competitions' period," says Seppey.