Antonio da Silva Elected LEN President At Extraordinary General Congress As Barelli Era Ends

LEN Bureau elected on Feb 5, 2022 LEN Extraordinary Congress 2022 Frankfurt Germany Sheraton Hotel Flughafen 20220205 Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia /Insidefoto
LEN Bureau: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Antonio da Silva was elected the new president of European federation LEN at the Extraordinary Congress to end Paolo Barelli’s era at the helm.

Da Silva was elected with a majority of 96% among the 47 federations present and three more attending online.

The Congress voted 92 to eight to dismiss the previous Bureau with former artistic swimmer Andida Bouma of the Netherlands becoming the first woman to be elected as General Secretary.

Tomas Kucinskas of Lithuania was elected Treasurer, while Kyriakos Giannopoulos (GRE), Christer Magnusson (SWE), Gilles Sezionale (FRA), Marco Troll (GER) and Josip Varvodic (CRO) become the new Vice-Presidents.

Da Silva, the head of the Portuguese Federation, said that unity was an urgent objective and to that end would be reaching out to each national federation, saying:

“We had the courage to stand up and fight for a better future for all federations and all the aquatic disciplines.

“We stood up and fought for the principles of unity, for openness and transparency for the sacred principles of democracy.

“We spoke out and demanded that LEN worked with FINA for the good of the sport worldwide. We can no longer exist in isolation, together we are stronger.”

With the new constitution expected to be approved at the next Congress in May, Da Silva is looking to extend the Bureau’s numbers and also hopes that two more European members can join the FINA bureau.

FINA president Husain al-Musallam joined from remote and said it was time “to work together as one family.”

He added:

“Europe is very important for the world – and the world needs the help of Europe.

“With the new president and his team, FINA count on Europe in supporting the development of aquatic sports.”

Among the first items on the new team’s agenda is the restructuring of the LEN Office and Bureau and to agree on a new constitution while reviewing the competition structure and calendar.

Da Silva added:

“There are no fewer than eight goals for integrity, transparency and governance, seven regarding inclusion and access to our sport, six for collaboration between aquatic disciplines and eight for sustainability so we have a lot to do”

He also added, that after the new Constitution is approved – this is anticipated in May, at a next Congress –, his team plans to enlarge the LEN Bureau to include more members and there is a hope that two more European members can join the FINA Bureau in the near future.

FINA president Husain al-Musallam joined from remote and said it was time “to work together as one family.”

For Barelli it marks the end of an era.

An investigation is under way into allegations of financial irregularity after revelations in May 2020 that three world swimming bosses had been named in a complaint alleging financial irregularity.

The trio were Barelli, David Sparkes, the former head of British Swimming, and Tamas Gyarfas, the former head of the Hungarian swimming federation.

The offices of the European Swimming League (LEN) were raided by Swiss police in relation to the allegations in March 2021.

It all started when former LEN president Bartolo Consolo received an anonymous letter in late 2019 containing allegations of financial irregularity.

He attended a meeting with Fraud and Money Laundering Department investigators of the Swiss Criminal Prosecutor’s Office of the Canton Vaud, at police headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, in early August 2020.

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1 year ago

Hate it, when international sports leaders (FIFA, IOC etc.) uses the term “Family” – it smells of corruption.