THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has officially started mediation procedures to resolve the impasse between Filipino pole vault ace Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) yesterday.

But both parties would have to sign the paper the PSC called “mediation submission agreement” before the process could even progress.

If Mr. Obiena and the PATAFA sign the agreement, the next step will be the appointment of a mediator like PSC Chairman William Ramirez, who has volunteered for the job.

“The role of the mediator is merely to facilitate communication, identify issues and help the parties arrive at a settlement,” said Mr. Ramirez. “My role as mediator is not to decide who is right or wrong.

“We are after a win-win solution for both sides. The goal is to preserve relationships of the disputing parties,” he added.

The agreement contains the rules to be observed, the language and where the mediation will be held.

It also stated that the issue will be resolved via arbitration should it remain unsolved within 30 calendar days from the start of the mediation.

But the PSC will do everything within its powers to put an end to the controversy that started when PATAFA accused Mr. Obiena of allegedly falsifying liquidations regarding the coach’s fee of Vitaly Petrov.

The Tokyo Olympian vehemently denied it.

Mr. Ramirez expresses his worry over both Mr. Obiena and PATAFA and hopes it will be settled soon.

“I am worried about them both. EJ is carrying this burden all alone overseas, away from family and friends. I am concerned about (PATAFA President) Mr. (Philip Ella) Juico’s health. The earlier we can sit down and talk, the earlier we can resolve this,” he said. — Joey Villar