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Recently retired Jai Alai player Juan Mari Fundazuri will no longer be the Union representative, without a new name on the table

03/23/2016

Juan Mari Fundazuri played for almost twenty years as a pro Jai Alai player and served as the union rep since January 2015 (Photos: J.M.F.)
Juan Mari Fundazuri played for almost twenty years as a pro Jai Alai player and served as the union rep since January 2015 (Photos: J.M.F.)

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Juan Mari Fundazuri has quit as the Pelotari's Union Representative (UAW-IJAPA), after retiring from professional sports on January 13th. As he told EuskalKultura.com, “the union has not chosen a new representative yet, but I guess they will soon.” Fundazuri has mixed feelings about his new reality and doesn't forget that the sport's future is still in a compromised situation, even though Florida's House of Representatives has again postponed the decision about whether to allow Frontons to install slot machines−their most important game to date.

Miami, FL. The Pelotari's Union UAW-IJAPA will have to find a new representative in Miami, after Juan Mari Fundazuri's recent decision to quit. Fundazuri, who held the position since January 2015, played his last professional game on January 13th, at Miami Jai Alai, with Arrasate his last partner, in the tenth entry, they beat Areitio and Aldazabal. That will be the last professional game of this 41-year-old player from Bizkaia.

Fundazuri was born in Markina, but lived in Durango until, at the age of 22, when he made the decision to pursue a Jai Alai professional career in Florida. It was the year 1997. After almost two decades of competing as a pro, he misses “the good atmosphere of the Fronton and the healthy rivalry.” But he is also glad he will have “no more injuries.”

The 'slot machines issue,' still on hold

Despite not being the union's rep anymore, Fundazuri is aware of the importance of having a spokesperson and agrees on answering media questions until the position is held by somebody else. In the last session of the Florida House of Representatives, Paramutuels fought for more lax legislation that would allow them to install as many slot machines as possible, and to expand their Casinos, without having to keep Jai Alai games, along with horse and dog races, which are also at the brink of extinction. And even if the House agreed on shrinking the presence of dog races, they postponed any decision that would affect Jai Alai, most probably until autumn. Representative Jose Felix Diaz, along with the players' lobbyists, “did a great job to help us take a breather,” said Zuri.



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