American Swimming Coaches Association Calls For A “REFUSAL TO ACCEPT OR RECOGNIZE” FINA Order Award for Vladimir Putin

Recently, the FINA President [Dr. Julio Maglione] presented the “FINA ORDER” (FINA’s highest honor) to President [Vladimir] Putin of Russia.

At a time when Russia is by a wide margin the Most Doped Sporting Nation on Earth, this award is wildly inappropriate.

Russia has spent the money to host multiple FINA events. They have also reaped the benefits from these events. There is no need to further “reward” anyone connected with these FINA-awarded events. Mr. Putin got the right to present FINA events, which is what Russian money has paid for. The highest award that FINA offers, should be reserved for those who have served the sport of swimming at the highest level, not an international political figure. FINA is Water, not politics.

The American Swimming Coaches Association finds the honor bestowed on Mr. Putin to be insulting and dismissive of all those who have fought for doping-free sport inside Russia and around the globe. The ASCA believes that FINA Member Federations should refuse to accept or recognize the presentation of this award.

Further, it is our understanding that the decision to provide this award was taken by one individual. It is inappropriate for a major international organization to provide its most important award on the decision of one individual. This happens in no other organization of which we are aware. Proper decision making via a FINA Committee, which would ask for FINA Bureau approval, would result in better decisions in a “democratic” organization.

Poor process by FINA has resulted in a “tone deaf” presentation provided without consultation with any relevant committee (such as the Press Commission, charged with how FINA should be presented to the world… The Press Commission exists. IF a FINA Awards Committee exists, it is not evident.). Both the process and the result are wildly divisive and disrespectful of everyone participating in FINA activities worldwide.

We want to support FINA and its work worldwide. Decisions of this sort make that more difficult.

Signed by

The American Swimming Coaches Association Board of Directors, sent by its Executive Director, John Leonard

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