On November 28 a group of athletes will protest in the Panamanian capital as a reaction to possible mismanagement of funds of the Panamanian Sports Institute (Pandeportes) and sports federations, a sports source said today.
The demonstration took place as a result of publications of the local press reporting irregular management of several million dollars allocated between 2014 and 2018 to federations of several disciplines by the board who are at the same time deputies or officials of the Parliament.
For the former Panamanian Olympic swimmer Diego Castillo, corruption in the different sports organizations is something that affects everyone and believes it is time to ask for a significant change.
"I believe it is the beginning of a struggle for all athletes, and we call the whole society to a peaceful demonstration for Panamanian sport and for the outrage we feel for corruption that affects it," said the former Olympic swimmer Diego Castillo.
Castillo, who is the president of the Commission of Athletes of the Olympic Committee of Panama, added that from this movement can come out -at least- three points to solve the problem.
"The first point would be a decree where Pandeportes require the federations in their statutes the representation of the athletes in their general meeting and board meeting; secondly: a working table to make a strategic planning of the sport and finally the candidates to President make planning part of their road map," said the leader.
Juan Ramón Solis, a former national soccer team and president of the Association of Footballers of Panama, said that it is a precise moment to raise their voices for all the problems faced by athletes in the country.
"It is the right moment, because general elections are coming in each federation and it is important to raise our voice to see significant changes in all aspects," said the former FIFA U20 world champions.
He added that "those changes must be in the statutes in all the federations and at the same time in its board of directors there must be two athletes, because they know the reality of our sport".
Solis is aware that not all athletes will come out to protest, because their career may be conditioned.
"It is a reality that many athletes will not be with us because of the issue of scholarships and restrictions to the possibility of competing," he said.
So far, a preliminary audit of the General Comptroller General's office identified the irregular management of more than 9 million dollars between July 2014 and July 2018 in Pandeportes, the Panamanian comptroller said.