T&TVF, CAZOVA, and FIVB Development Commission President, Mushtaque Mohammed

Mushtaque Mohammed, president of the T&T Volleyball Federation (TTVF), has welcomed the move by the Federation de International Volleyball (FIVB) to launch an Athletes Relief Support Fund to provide short-term assistant to professional volleyball and beach volleyball players who have been affected financially by the global coronavirus pandemic.

An initiative of the FIVB president Ary S Graca F and the FIVB Athletes’ Commission, the fund was approved by the FIVB Executive Committee yesterday and will offer support to those athletes who are in financial hardship due to the postponement and cancellation of FIVB events.

The Athletes’ Relief Support fund is aimed at those who are currently unable to afford the basic necessities including, but not limited to, food, family care and housing.

In his address, Graca said, “The FIVB understands how much time and dedication every single volleyball and beach volleyball player puts into our sport. They are the heart and soul of volleyball, and without them, our sport would not be the global success that it is. We also fully understand that, for some, the necessary postponement or cancellation of FIVB events will have had a significant impact on their everyday lives.

“Therefore, it is the FIVB’s responsibility to continue to support them in every way that we can, and that is why the Athletes’ Relief Support fund was created. With the help of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission and a dedicated Task Force, we will ensure that this fund goes to those who truly need it during this time, and help our athletes to concentrate on staying safe and healthy.”

In light of the global nature of the current situation, all assistance will be determined by a thorough analysis of each case.

Contacted for comment, Mohammed, who is also the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association said, “I’m very pleased to see that the FIVB has stepped up to assist athletes who have suffered from loss of income.

“As you know T&T ourselves have several athletes who play professionally in Europe and Asia as well and I congratulate FIVB for playing their role as part of their corporate social responsibility as in some cases the athletes would have suffered a loss of earnings due to the premature ends to their seasons, termination of contracts, and sponsorship deals,” added Mohammed, who is also head of the FIVB Development Commission and a board member.

Among the T&T professional players are Channon Thompson (Germany), Krystle Esdelle (Italy), Marc-Anthony Honore (Portugal), Sinead Jack-Kisal (Japan), Renele Forde (Cyprus), Taija Thomas (France), and Darlene Ramdin (Israel).

To ensure that the fund is distributed fairly, the online application process will be transparent and led by a dedicated Task Force, which includes the leadership of the FIVB, the FIVB Athletes’ Commission and the FIVB Team.

This Task Force will be responsible for evaluating applications, conducting eligibility checks, and ensuring that this fund assists those who cannot currently meet their basic needs.

Athletes applying for the FIVB Athletes’ Relief Support fund will need to meet set eligibility requirements for their application to be considered for further evaluation.

The eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to, being clear from sanctions on international and national levels, having no anti-doping rules violations, and having participated in the minimum required number of FIVB events during the 2018-2019 season along with several other requirements.

Also, in consideration of the ongoing global coronavirus crisis, and to allow athletes a suitable amount of time to apply for funding, applications will remain open for one month from May 26 to June 23.