FINA, the Federation International de Natation Amateur. Is it fit for purpose and are those in leadership positions fit to lead? Or are they letting the sport down? A wave of blunders and bad decisions in recent years, several notable examples from the past 12 months, have prompted leading coaches and athletes to ask: can FINA be repaired or is it time to replace the organisation that was created in 1908 but no longer appears to serves its constituency more than it serves its leadership.
A tipping point has been reached. Bill Sweetenham has suggested a way forward for the sport: FINA hold submit to independent review; open its books as the no-profit organisation it claims to be; and work to reform itself for he benefit of swimming. The World Swimming Association stands in the wings ready to replace FINA as the global federation for swimming. FINA would be left with diving, water polo and synchronised swimming as its key assets.
In this section, we collate all articles features and editorial related to the political crisis in swimming and the campaign for better and more accountable governance of the sport.
September 11, 2017 -
The WSA Sets Up Shop Just As FINA Courts Conquer By Destroying Itself From Within. As SwimVortex takes a short break from the daily news beat and delivers a home-page package of features that consider the highlights of 2017, we leave you our autumn essay and consideration of the state of play in swimming governance. “A great civilisation is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within” – Will Durant. Come down from Olympus, from ancient Greeks and Romans and “The Story of Civilization”, come down from the Amazonian tribes depicted in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto … and we find a form of civilisation in the throes of self-destruction in international sports governance
September 10, 2017 -
It is only September and the year may yet throw some more high scores into the pot but as SwimVortex takes a break from the visible coalface, we invite readers to send in their choices for the best of 2017 in our Readers’ Choices categories. The award results will be published in December as part of our end-year package of reflections, the deadline for entries December 15.
September 6, 2017 -
Editorial. The International swimming federation has finally reached the tipping point on doping. Just when you thought FINA could sink no lower, it will have Park Tae-hwan* and the asterisk he tows for falling foul of the WADA Code as ambassadors for its showcase 2019 World Championships. Forgiveness is essential. To forget and wipe the slate c lean and expect that to send the right message on clean sport is folly.
August 31, 2017 -
In one of the most pertinent Dear John letters in the struggle to raise swimming to a professional sport in which athlete interests are the priority, from Russian international Arkady Vyatchanin has marked the moment he became eligible to race for the United States with an appeal for the future direction of swimming to drop any obligation of an athlete to compete for a country or find themselves locked out of their job.
August 18, 2017 -
Editorial: Masters are racing at world titles in Budapest. Their FINA boss is from that swimming powerhouse, Senegal. He’s a member of the FINA Bureau and gets a hefty per diem when on business for the international federation. He’d like African to host its first Masters Championships for the continent – but for that you actually need some swimmers who came through development and even to international waters not because they are subsidised by FINA universality handouts but because they are good enough; good enough even to manage more than two laps of the pool. All part of the system of control that maintains the status quo
August 14, 2017 -
Puppet-president of FINA Julio Maglione emerged from a pyrrhic victory with a response that has built a funeral pyre for FINA. Maglione and mates have overlooked a significant aspect of the domain they govern as they hastily chopped European heads out of governance at global level: the aquatic firepower of Europe Vs the almost totally absence of aquatic sports quality in the Middle East and Africa, two of FINA’s power bases built on shifting sand
July 24, 2017 -
Cate Campbell barely hesitates when asked what singular issue concerns her in the campaign for athletes to have a far greater say in the leadership and directipon of their sport: “I think the fact that they haven’t ever requested an athlete’s opinion on anything [laughter rumbles through the journalists listening]. We are essentially FINA’s assets. Without us there is no FINA and I think sometimes that can be forgotten. Campbell lambasted the global leadership of aquatics as “strange and a bit arrogant” when it came to dealing with the prime assets of the pool: athletes. “… athletes do just get lost because it does become about making money as opposed to swimming. I feel like that’s a fundamental part of their constitution that they’ve forgotten”
July 22, 2017 -
More war is on the wind in the swimming world even though the presidential election is over at FINA: if Europe intends to hold FINA’s feet to the fire and will refuse to back a FINA plan to create a “$15m anti-doping foundation”, then the man who represents 17,500 coaches, including many of the world’s leading mentors reacted to events with a rallying cry to “cut off the periphery” and cut loose from the international federation in a new world governed in the interests of elite athletes
July 22, 2017 -
Today is the day that FINA nations decided who their president will be, the day a handful of bosses – not the nations got to tell the rest of world swimming who the heir apparent to that top seat will be. Guess what: those on the gravy train voted to stay on it, with an 81-driver stoking the fire. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas – but winter is coming
July 20, 2017 -
The Iranian swimming official cited by FINA’s controversial first vice-president Husain Al Musallam as having leaked “stolen” tapes to the media to discredit him before elections of the international swimming federation on Saturday, has declared the Kuwaiti’s accusation “completely false”. In a statement sent out to the media today, Mohsen Rezvani, the president of I.R. Iran Swimming Federation, says that Al-Musallam’s “allegations are intended to distract people’s attention from the real matters at hand”.