EJ Obiena’s head coach Vitaly Petrov released a statement on the scandal surrounding his ward and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, involving finances.
And the 83-year-old Ukrainian hopes that it will be the last time he speaks about the matter.
“I hereby formally withdrawal any prior statements or documents associated to me,” said the three-time Summer Games gold medalist. “This is the only document that may be attributed to me. And finally, this closes this matter for me. I will be making no further statements. I have athletes who need me.
“I do not have more time to waste on this proverbial ‘witch hunt.'”
Petrov first admitted that Obiena had been delinquent in the payouts of his salary.
But it was in no way the Filipino pole vaulter’s fault. Instead, according to Petrov, PATAFA’s inefficiency led to the situation.
“From the coaching period of 2018 to the present, my coaching fees for EJ have totaled, as outlined by PATAFA, €85,000. Upon reviewing my bank records, I confirm with 100-percent certainly that EJ has indeed paid to me not only 85,000, but slightly more,” Petrov said, confirming Jim Lafferty’s claims that Obiena overpaid the coach by €2,817. “I have no issue with EJ and his payments to me, and I confirm he has fully paid up to date.
“There is no doubt that sometimes EJ has paid me late, and sometimes in irregular tranches and he explained to me that this is caused primarily by PATAFA sending his allowance and my payments months late. This does not bother me,” he continued.
“I know EJ is trustworthy and I know he is over-burdened by the administration to start with. I know that the money is late because of PATAFA’s inefficiency.”
PATAFA had earlier asked Obiena to return the € 85,000 as he “falsified the liquidations submitted.”
The federation also claimed that it has a sworn statement from Petrov, claiming grievance to the late payments Obiena made.
Petrov vehemently denied it, saying that he and President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine Sergey Bubka were ‘tricked’ by the federation in an effort to have evidence against Obiena.
“I have never proactively complained to anyone on El and payments, specifically never to PATAFA or to any Philippines sports official,” he stressed. “What has happened is, I have been directly approached by Philip Ella Juico and heavily questioned, alongside my former athlete Sergey Bubka, in a manner which confused me and I felt pressured to answer in the way that they wanted me to answer.
“I now understand this was a focused mission to try and find fault with EJ. I answered and later signed a questionnaire because I was made to understand through their circuitous questioning and reasoning that this would facilitate smoother payments. I was tricked,” he claims. “I answered it that way because I honestly thought that it would help unburden EJ of this unnecessary role of managing my payments and that he could fully focus on training.
“I never could have imagined it would be used in the way it is used now as a weapon to destroy a promising career. To be clear, I never initiated any such discussions or documents. It was initiated wholly by Philip Ella Juico.”
To close, Petrov stressed that he has no issue with Obiena and that he was misled by Juico.
“First, I have been fully paid by EJ Obiena. Secondly, I have no issue with U Obiena. Thirdly, I never have reached out to PATAFA, and I never initiated any complaint against EJ Obiena. Fourth, I was misled by the proactive questioning of Philip Ella Juico and I mistakenly answered his questionnaire according to the way that he wanted me to which is to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal.”