CHAIRMAN William Ramirez of the Philippine Sports Commission set another first in the country’s sports history by establishing the grievance and arbitration committee, which will address the various issues and disputes (and boy are they plenty) ailing the country’s various national sports associations.

Often, our sports leaders mimick our country’s leaders, engaging in petty squabbles or power grabs that benefit the country kuno but only serves to fatten their pockets or keep the same group in power. We’ve had NSAs that had two sets of officers squabbling over who are the rightful officers while helpless athletes watch in the sideline wondering when the intramurals will ever end.

Heck there was even a time when we had two Team Philippines in one SEA GAmes, complete with different uniform designs, secretariats and media bureaus. The standing joke that time was “Go Teams Philippines!.”

That one all started with a dispute that had no solution.

Because sports disputes in the Philippines are rarely solved. How can you solve them if all you do is trial by publicity? It’s true, who is right or which faction is right in a dispute depends on which faction knows which media outfit. One camp goes to his or her favorite reporter to air a grievance, the other runs to his or her favorite mouthpiece. Or, after one camp announces their plans or grievances in a press con, the other party holds a rebuttal two days after.

Heck, before football became a regular staple in Manila’s tabloids, there was a time when one of the factions of the PFF would fly in regularly to Cebu, bringing in loads full of papers documenting why then PFF president Johnny Romualdez should be kicked out. (I always got Martinez’s side). It was a trial by publicity that solved nothing and there was only a change in regime and direction in the PFF when it was the stakeholders themselves who decided enough is enough.

Ramirez, in his first public statement since taking office last July, said “enough is enough.” Or sort of.

In a series of public incidents that seems to highlight the lack of direction of some NSAs, it was exposed that a swimming association president was on the run, a planned swim-off between two groups to determine the best swimmers in the country didn’t push through and an octogenarian who promised to step down did a Peping Cojuangco and stayed on as president in swimming, telling his stakeholders that no, the “presidential post,” isn’t open for election though you may elect my minions.

The PSC’s solution? The Grievance and Arbitration Committee that will settle the disputes, the country’s version of the Committee for Arbitration in Sports of Switzerland. What will be the first case?

I hope it’s tennis and the overstaying Buddy Andrada.