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PATAFA justifies probe on EJ Obiena's liquidation woes, says he only paid coach this month

PATAFA now says there is a reason to investigate how EJ Obiena has paid his coach. Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The drama between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and EJ Obiena continues.

PATAFA stands by its decision to investigate how Obiena has been paying his coach, Vitaly Petrov, for his services.

In a statement on Monday, PATAFA said that the probe, whose initial resolution was first reported on Sunday, was based on a statement Petrov submitted to them backed up by a signed affidavit from one of his former prized wards, current Ukraine Olympic Committee president Sergey Bubka.

The night before, Obiena called for a press conference denying PATAFA's allegations that he has failed to pay Petrov up.

Petrov himself even showed up in the press conference confirming that he has already received his salary in full.

However, PATAFA claimed that the payment came in late.

"Obiena has reported to PATAFA that he had turned over Petrov's salary from May 2018 to August 2021 on time. Records, however, revealed that Obiena had settled obligations with Petrov only recently this month and not during the months that he had officially reported having paid his coach's salary," PATAFA's statement reads.

The contrasting claims of how Obiena paid Petrov led to PATAFA's probe as the national sports association further stated.

PATAFA has asked Obiena to return 85,000 euros (about PHP4.8 million) worth of alleged unpaid salaries to Petrov.

Obiena, however, called the demand a fraud.

[Related Story: EJ Obiena calls PATAFA's liquidation allegations 'fraud', threatens 'immediate retirement']

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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