By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Olympic Committee could face sanction from the Indonesia Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee once futsal and baseball, which both confirmed their participation, decide to skip the Games.
Philippine deputy chef de mission Romeo Magat and the country’s SEA Games secretariat waited way past office hours Thursday for futsal and baseball officials to make the payment for the participation of their athletes in the Nov. 11 to 22 meet but nobody came.
Futsal entered its men’s and women’s teams of 12 players each while baseball planned to bring a 22-man squad.
The athletes of both sports were among the 110 private-sponsored campaigners and 21 officials for whom the POC extended the courtesy of stretching the deadline yesterday so they could join the already approved roster of 424 athletes and 140 officials to be funded by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“They (baseball and futsal) begged to be included and yet they didn’t show up when we asked for the payment,” said Magat.
Sponsors for futsal and baseball need to cough up P75,000 to P80,000 for each athlete for the duration of the Games.
“Their noncompliance would force us to remove them,” said Magat. “But that’s not the problem. We’ll be penalized (by the SEA Games organizers) since they’re already considered as official entries.”
The POC had already paid the airline bookings of these athletes and officials.
Except for futsal and baseball, Magat said private backers of softball (17), bridge (13), sports climbing (2), judo (3), fencing (3), badminton (3), athletics (2), gymnastics (2), golf (2) and cycling (1) have already complied with the requirements.