Breaking News: WBO vote to relocate to Florida
By David Finger
First it was the Rams to LA. Then the Raiders to Las Vegas. But now we may have the most surprising move in sports for 2016: the WBO to Florida.
On the first day of the 29th annual WBO convention in San Juan Puerto Rico the WBO voted to do what just two years ago would have seemed unthinkable: leave Puerto Rico.
With a unanimous vote from the executive committee and a unanimous vote from the WBO members across the world, the WBO just authorized the executive committee to unilaterally relocate the World Boxing Organization from Puerto Rico to the State of Florida.
After President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel made the proposal WBO officals chairperson Michael Pernick made the motion which was seconded by Geno Hernandez.
The move is in direct response to the WBO’s loss of tax exempt status in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Jose Cuevas, legal counsel for the WBO, summed up the situation in frank terms.
“They are treating us like boxing promoters!” Cuevas said. “within the economic crisis the government has tried 1,001 tactics to collect money from everyone.”
However Vice President Luis Batista Salas did stress that the move was hardly a certainty.
“The possibility is quite remote,” Salas said before adding that the WBO was continuing to try and work with the government of Puerto Rico.
The WBO is recognized by the US federal government as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, exempting them from having to pay taxes. However, last year after the economy of Puerto Rico collapsed, the government of Puerto Rico revoked the tax exempt status of the WBO. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico refused to consider the appeal of the WBO and as the matter stands now the WBO has a pending tax exempt status application with the government of Puerto Rico. With the vote today the WBO could relocate to Florida immediately if the application is denied.
The WBO was founded in 1988 and has been headquartered in San Juan, Puerto Rico since it’s founding.