During the weekend, PATHF organized the combination of an Extraordinary Congress and a Regular Congress in Panama City. The event was attended by 23 of the 26 PATHF member federations. This included nine of the ten from South America, all the six Central American members, five from the Caribbean region (CUB, DOM,HAI, MEX and PUR) and then the Northern trio Canada, Greenland and USA.
The proceedings were characterized by harmony and a good meeting of minds on all the major issues. This was particularly remarkable inasmuch as the agenda included the revision of the Statutes, the Competition Regulations, and the introduction of a first-ever regulation for a Disciplinary and Ethics Tribunal. I will come back to these issues in a separate article.
But, apart from the elections, the ‘hot topic’ was the revamping of the overall competition structure, especially as regards the system for qualifying to the different categories of PanAmerican Championships. The reality has been that only a small proportion of the PATHF federations have participated regularly in the Championships or in the qualifying leading up to them. Clearly, an effort needs to be made to encourage or ‘force’ more competition, especially on a regional basis among teams of relatively equal strength. This is the key to raising the level across the continent. I will came back to the details of the new system in a couple of days.
For the moment, I will just comment on the election results. The big change was that, after 16 years, there was a consensus that new leadership through a new President was needed, and the unanimous choice was the former Vice President Mario Moccia (ARG). In this team on the Executive Committee, we also have Julio Noveri (URU) as 1st Vice President and Rafael Sepulveda (PUR) as 2nd VP with special responsibilities for development. Hector Fernandez (CHI) moved over to the position of Secretary, making room for Carlos Ferrea (ARG) as Treasurer. Mario Garcia de la Torre (MEX) remains as Representative to the IHF.
The Council has six additional members, including four Regional Vice Presidents: Brian Hayes (CAN – North), Jose Duval (DOM – Caribbean), Carlos Morales (GUA – Central) and Geraldo Paniagua (PAR-South). The two other members are Carlos Gonzales (CUB – Pres. of the Competition Committee and Salvio Sedrez (BRA – Pres. of the Referees Committee).
A new important arrangement is the establishment of an Office with a General Manager function connected to the President; this will be occupied by Miguel Zaworotny (ARG). Finally, the brand new, independent Tribunal for Disciplinary and Ethics matters also had a President named. My ‘modesty’ prevents me from indicating who was placed in that position…