Adam Peaty Awaits Unpaid Wages From The ISL And Urges Athletes To Exert Greater Power

ADam Peaty 2021 Europeans
Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Adam Peaty Awaits Unpaid Wages From The ISL And Urges Athletes To Exert Greater Power

The ISL final is underway without Adam Peaty, who only returned to training following his stint on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and who is still awaiting payment from last season.

Peaty was a mainstay for London Roar in the first two seasons of the International Swimming League and there had been some hope he would return this week in Eindhoven where Ilya Shymanovich has been in blistering form for Energy Standard.

However, Roar general manager Rob Woodhouse confirmed on Monday that the three-time Olympic champion would not be appearing at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium.

Peaty has been an interested observer this time around but his desire for the league to successfully develop conflicts with his own experience.

He told Swimming World:

“I am still not paid for everything. I’ve been part-paid but not for all of it and that is from last year.

“If I’ve not been paid then who else hasn’t?

“That is the way it is and I don’t want to go on social media and I want the league to grow, I want to give it a chance, but there’s a certain amount of time, isn’t there? 12 months….”

Woodhouse told Swimming World: “Adam is the last of our team to be paid from last season, but I’ve been assured by Konstantin (ISL founder Konstantin Grigorishin) that it’s coming.”

Adam Peaty sets world record 100 breaststroke ISL final Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

Photo Courtesy: MIKE LEWIS / ISL


Peaty continued:

“I know the stories with the suppliers, the locations, that haven’t been paid.

“And I think it’s worse than the athletes in a sense.

“Say you haven’t paid your suppliers or locations then you lose those suppliers who are great and the amazing people you work with, the production, the team you potentially work with, the hotels you stay at and the places you race.

“There’s only a finite amount of places you can race in the world anyway and you get a reputation don’t you?

“I know the league is in its infancy and I did try to say you need to put your foot down here because it’s not acceptable. The league is still going ahead and people are racing but that is what it is.”

Reports emerged from Australia in October that athletes had discussed the possibility of a playoff boycott due to unpaid wages from the 2020 season.

Peaty, an eight-time world champion, doesn’t believe that athletes staying away would have the required effect in relation to the long-term development of the league.

Neither does he profess to have the answers although he does feel the athletes could exert more power and influence because without them there is no competition, be it Olympics, ISL or age-groups.

He said:

“I don’t think it’s about a boycott because that would kill the league but then there needs to be something done and I’m not sure what the answer is.

“Whether it’s social media pressure, whether it’s media pressure, whether it’s a personal pressure on the ISL – I’m not sure what the correct route would be, I’m not sure there is a right route for the longevity of the league.

“I think athletes more than ever need to show they’ve got a spine: we have got power, we have got control and we hold all the cards.

“Yes, you are going abroad and you’re going to race and yes, you’re getting paid but the athletes have a strong position and I feel like at the moment they are treating it like they’re not in the position of power – the governing bodies and the leagues are – when it’s really, really not.

“And that needs to be shown and I am not sure what is being done about that either so I am not really too bothered about what I say or what I do.

“I know it’s from my heart, I am not just saying it to rattle cages or rattle people, I am doing it because stuff needs to change because I am fed up of swimming always being on the back burner when it really doesn’t deserve to be.”

Eleven-time Olympic medalist Matt Biondi was named director of the International Swimmers’ Alliance, an organisation dedicated to the athletes, in late 2019.

He was present at the ISL’s European derby in London in November that year and had the backing of the world’s best swimmers including those present in the British capital.

Biondi described Peaty as “the more mature model of the athlete” and it was the 16-time European champion who challenged FINA to “ban me if you’ve got to” in December 2018 as the world federation threatened sanctions against swimmers competing in a rival competition.

Jul 25, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Adam Peaty (GBR) during the men's 100m breaststroke semifinals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

Adam Peaty; Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Network

There is a sense of frustration for Peaty who urges his fellow swimmers to make their voices heard, saying:

“You have got the athletes’ union – I’m on the WhatsApp group – but it doesn’t really do anything. So everything needs to be better and why is it not?

“I think there needs to be a few more athletes who are willing to speak up about that and say ‘look, I know it’s a new league, I know it’s in its infancy, I know everyone makes mistakes and stuff like that.’

“But that communication needs to be as good as it was in 2019 and I don’t feel it is right now.

“So, it’s not about FINA against the ISL or vice-versa: it’s about the athletes’ best interests and making  sure those athletes hear that and not just doing it because they have to because every athlete has a voice, every athlete has an opportunity.

“If you are racing in a league you want to make sure they are doing the right thing and promoting the sport in the right way and again it comes down to information on the athletes, the VTs, the storytelling, again the ISL could be way better at that.

“From my experience in Budapest (2020 season), I was swimming a lot of the time but what was I doing other than that? If you have got all the world’s best athletes there, do something with it. I don’t think that opportunity was maximised.

“So I know shoulda, woulda, coulda – could you do a better job, could I do a better job – but you reflect on these experiences and hopefully they improve.

“It’s integrity – there’s not much integrity – and making sure those swimmers who went down to London in 2019 stick by their word and it is just not happening. That is a disappointing thing.”

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B1G Daddy
B1G Daddy
2 years ago

I was told in October that Caeleb Dressel had not be completely paid, and that money was being withheld due to a perceived lack of promotion of the ISL by Dressel himself. This came from a person closely connected to Dressel himself.

B1G Daddy
B1G Daddy
2 years ago

I was told in October that Caeleb Dressel had not be completely paid, and that money was being withheld due to a perceived lack of promotion of the ISL by Dressel himself. This came from a person closely connected to Dressel himself.

If Peaty AND Dressel haven’t been paid, the better question is who HAS been paid?

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