A RESIDENCY rule stands in the way of the Philippine women’s softball team’s plan to bring in Filipino-American players to reinforce its lineup for the 2014 Asian Games.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (Asaphil) should reconsider its reported plan to have Fil-Ams in the Blu Girls’ Asian Games roster to boost its chances of winning a medal in Incheon, South Korea.
Garcia, who is also the chief of mission of the Asiad contingent, said rules of the softball competitions clearly state that players must be a resident of the country for three years to be eligible to play.
“Meron ‘yang international rule especially under the Olympic Council of Asia na sinasabi doon na you can’t field a player unless he is a resident of your country for three years. I don’t know ngayon kung paano itong mga Fil-Ams especially na they have not been here (for three years),” Garcia said.
One of those reportedly being considered by Asaphil is Garie Blando, an infielder for NCAA Division I side University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
Garcia said there is no way the Fil-Ams can play for the Philippine team unless an appeal to the International Softball Federation (ISF) is upheld.
“They have to move towards that directon na mag-aappeal sila sa IF (international federation). But we have no reason not to allow them. The worse is to allow them tapos pagdating doon, we get disqualified because of non-compliance,” said Garcia.
But Garcia believes that an appeal to the international federation is a long shot since the rules are very clear.
“In other sports like athletics, basketball, football, and rugby, even if he is not a resident, the athlete can play. Pero iba ‘yung rules sa softball. Very specific. I really don’t know how can we be exempted from the rule,” said Garcia.
The Blu Girls are planning a training stint in the United States to boost their chances in Incheon as they play against world-caliber teams from Asia.