27th June 2017

FINA World Aquatics day grants could be seen as ‘cash for votes’

Paolo Barelli, President of the European swimming federation (LEN), has warned that the international swimming federation’s (FINA) pledge to offer up to US$4,000 in grants to the 209 FINA national federations for the first edition of World Aquatics Day risks being seen as ‘cash for votes’ ahead of the FINA Presidential election. Barelli is also President of the Italian swimming federation (FIN), and is standing against current FINA President Julio Maglione at the 22 July FINA Congress in Budapest.

In the letter (PDF below), Barelli alleges that the national federations received a letter from Maglione on 23 February about ‘FINA’s desire to celebrate FINA World Aquatic Day every year with the FINA National Federations’. On 2 March, a FINA statement announced that it had asked the national federations for their ideas about how to celebrate the first World Aquatics Day. However neither the statement or the initial letter detailed any financial support from FINA, according to Barelli.

‘On 8 the FINA Executive received the communication which stated that you would like to provide all of the National Federations with up $ 4,000 for their participation in the celebration of the first edition of FINA World Aquatic Day’, continues the letter. ‘Whilst you invited opinions from the members of the Executive, I am not aware of any formal voting process concerning your proposal’.

Barelli then says that on 13 June, just over a month before the FINA Congress, the national federations received a letter from FINA stating that financial support would be available for all federations who celebrate World Aquatics Day this year. ‘The timing of the implementation of your proposal may risk being perceived by FINA Members as convenient’, continues the letter. ‘Such a decision taken by you, only 37 days to go to Election Congress, may be interpreted as an exercise of cash for votes!’ FINA has yet to respond to the allegations.

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