FRANKFURT, Germany, February 10. IN a stunning reversal, the 2005 World Swimming Championships were returned to Montreal today, less than a month after the sport's governing body had stripped the city of the event because of budget problems.
After an emergency meeting of FINA's board today, A FINA spokesman announced that the financial problems were resolved and the championships will be July 17-31 as originally planned.
The action took place a week after Yvon Des Rochers, head of the Montreal Organizing Committee, apparently committed suicide. Pressure from above — in the person of IOC president Jacques Rogge– is also thought to have played a part in FINA's decision.
FINA said moving the event would cause logistical problems because many national swimming federations had made travel and hotel bookings well before the Jan. 19 decision to take the championships out of Montreal.
Athens, Berlin and Moscow had bid to replace Montreal as host.
FINA issued the following statement:
"LAUSANNE, Switzerland, February 10. The FINA Bureau held today an Extraordinary Meeting in Frankfurt (GER), the Agenda including an up-date on the 11th FINA World Championships 2005.
"The Bureau underlines the efforts made by the Governments, Cities and National Federations candidates for the 2005 FINA World Championships: Athens/Hellenic Swimming Federation, Berlin/German Swimming Federation and Moscow/All-Russian Swimming Federation, by presenting their bid in such a short period of time and proving their full commitment and high capacity to organise the Championships in less than a six-month period;
"Considering that the bidders will accept and support any FINA Bureau’s decision should the World Championships be organised in the City of Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
"Considering the full support of the Canadian Governments and City of Montreal;
"Considering that all the requested guarantees have now been presented by the City of Montreal confirming the contractual obligations agreed and signed in 2001, when Montreal was chosen to host these championships;
Considering the important amount of work by the OC Montreal 2005 during the last three years, the experience accumulated and the infra-structure investments;
"Considering the numerous appeals received form citizens and organisations of Montreal supporting the organisation of the championships;
"Considering that an important number of National Federations had already made their arrangements (flight tickets, accommodation…) for their participation in Montreal;
"The FINA Bureau unanimously decided to reconsider its decision from 19th January 2005 and to confirm the organisation of the 11th FINA World Championships in Montreal, Québec, Canada, from 17-31 July 2005.
"The Bureau, on behalf of all FINA Family, expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the three 2005 bidders which, through their efforts, significantly contribute to consolidate the credibility of the FINA World Championships and to enhance the worldwide image of our Sports."