Former WTBA President P.S. Nathan sues the FIQ

    01/05/05

    FIQ/WTBA News

    Claim will cost the organization thousands of Dollars

    P.S. Nathan 3.jpg Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress President P.S. Nathan (left), who resigned from his position as WTBA President at the 2003 WTBA Congress in Kuala Lumpur, has sued the FIQ at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Heikki_Sarso_1937.jpg Heikki Sarso (right) from Finland, the incumbent WTBA President confirmed at the World Tenpin Team Cup in The Netherlands that Nathan wrote a letter to the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs in February 2004.

    "P.S. Nathan claimed that some irregularities happened during the congresses in Malaysia in 2003", said the Finn, who was elected WTBA President with an overwhelming majority. "Those irregularities should be the reason why Nathan resigned from presidency."

    The FIQ answer pointed out to Nathan - what he should know as a former WTBA President - that according to the FIQ and WTBA Rules he should appeal first to the WTBA President, in a second step to the WTBA Presidium and finally to the FIQ President.

    Steve_Hontiveros_4080.jpg When FIQ President Steve Hontiveras from the Philippines refused to take action, Nathan sent an appeal to the CAS.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.

    The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). The CAS has more than 150 arbitrators from 55 countries, chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law. Around 50 cases are registered by the CAS every year. For more information visit www.tas-cas.org.

    Nathan's claim has three issues:
    1. Does the CAS also think any irregularities happened during the congress.
    2. If the CAS says "yes", what are the consequences?
    3. Should the 70-year age rule from the FIQ apply to the WTBA?

    For those who are not involved in the work of an official: The FIQ 70-year-rule says that no official should be eligible for election at the Presidium if he or she is or becomes 70 years of age in the year of the election. According to one unnamed party Nathan was born as Satkunanathan al Ponkuchamy on November 3, 1933, and celebrated his 70 birthday short after the WTBA Congress last year.

    In fact, it was Nathan himself, who brought up the topic as he claimed that his rival candidate for the WTBA Presidency, former WIBC President Joyce Deitch, was too old for the job.

    "After the CAS had received Nathan's appeal, the legal process started", said Sarso. "The FIQ appointed me to take the case, which is ongoing since May". This makes sense as it seems it is nothing but a revenge campaign of a disappointed official. Nathan even wanted to keep the claim private and was upset that the WTBA President has informed the WTBA member federations about the claim as it would cost thousands of Dollars, money that comes from the member federations and finally from the bowlers. "Our costs at the moment are about 20.000 Euro (approx. US$26,000)", stated Sarso and obviously he feels very uncomfortable with this.

    But there is nothing he or the FIQ can do. The first decision of the CAS came in the beginning of July regarding the first two issues. It said that the CAS will not handle those issues because they are WTBA issues. In other words, 2-0 for the FIQ (the bowlers).

    Regarding issue No. 3 (the age rule) both parties sent in additional statements. The process took some months as Malaysia had to ask twice to extend the time. The FIQ had to give the final statement before November 5. "Of course, we did that," said the WTBA President. "We obey to the rules!"

    Sarso is expecting a decision from the arbitrator, who sits in London, this month. "The CAS usually works very fast. They have a lot of important sports issues to handle like appeals concerning disputes related to the XXVIII Olympic Games in Athens. This case should not even be there."

    Sarso is carefully optimistic what the third issue concerns. He doesn't think the WTBA Congress made any mistakes. "There were a lot of discussions, but the Congress didn't make a decision which could be described as wrong. It was Nathan himself who resigned from the position as WTBA President. Nobody forced him to do that!"

    "After that, Joyce Deitch withdrew her candidacy and it was legal proposal from the floor that I should become WTBA President. And finally I was elected."

    What does the whole issue cost the bowlers?

    "Right now after we have sent in our finals statement, the costs for the FIQ are about 20.000 Euro. But these are only our costs", said Sarso. "I do not know if Nathan pays for his own or if the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress, whose President Nathan still is, takes over his costs. I don't think this can be less than our costs."

    This would mean another 20.000 Euro for Nathan or the MTBC and would bring the total costs up to 40.000.

    "That's not all", said Sarso. "The CAS will make it's final decision on the claim and afterwards in normal cases the loser will have to pay the costs of the CAS!"