Asia Swimming Federation Puts Perspective On Kuwait Suspension; Adds FINA Election Endorsements

Asia Swimming Federation

The Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA) has been under scrutiny for many years. In 2010, Kuwait’s Olympic Committee was suspended due to government interference, but after providing new legislation for how institutions governed sport in Kuwait, as a country they were eligible in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Flash forward five years to 2015 and both the Kuwait Olympic Committee and KSA were suspended by the IOC and FINA, respectively. The suspension from FINA was “to protect the aquatic sports in Kuwait from third party interference,” and influenced by the IOC decision to suspend the Olympic Committee. The suspensions were later put in front of the Court of Arbirtration for Sports (CAS) and upheld the suspensions.

Today, as the swimming community rushes towards the 2017 FINA election Kuwait enters the spotlight once more. On July 3, 2017, a letter was sent by the Interim Committee of Kuwait Swimming Association stating that they, as a country, do not support Mr. Husain Al Musallam as the FINA Vice-President representing Asia for the 2017-2021 term. However, the views reflected by the Interim Committee of KSA do not reflect the views of the Asia Swimming Federation (AASF), as laid out in the letter below.

Penned by Virendra Nanavati, Sr. Vice President of AASF, the letter details how AASF accepted the nomination of Al Musallam as a candidate on July 1, 2016 and that the FINA Bureau confirmed on September 13, 2016 that Al Musallam was eligible to be elected for positions within the FINA body.

The letter concludes with an out-pouring of support for Al Musallam from the AASF.

To AASF Member Federations

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you as Sr. Vice President of AASF (Asia Swimming Federation) and would like to refer to the letter sent on 3rd July by the so called interim Swimming committee of Kuwait to all FINA member Swimming Federations and copy of which was also sent to you.

As you are all aware, the Kuwait Swimming Association was put under protection suspension by FINA to protect the Aquatic Sports in Kuwait from third party interference. This was based on the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which suspended the Kuwait Olympic Committee due to the passing of certain local sports laws which were in direct conflict with the Olympic Charter and the International Federation Rules and Regulations, including those of FINA.

The entire international sports community, including FINA/ AASF, has shown dissatisfaction and disagreement on the implementation of this conflicting law (mentioned above) which gives absolute power to the Minister in Charge of sports over all technical, administrative and financial issues, sports arbitration, doping, financial, dissolution and appointment of national sports organizations, including its Board of Directors and General Assembly members, cancellation of decisions taken by Board of Directors or General Assembly and implementation of constitution of national sports organizations without consulting the International Sports Federations, which is the FINA in our case.

This is a clear violation of FINA/ AASF Constitution and is directly interfering in the autonomy of the National Swimming Federation (NSF), which hinders the NSF, in this case the recognized Kuwait Swimming Association, to manage the affairs independently clearly influenced by a third party (in this case the Government). As members of FINA, we all have our rights and duties clearly stated in FINA Constitution C 8.2.2, C 8.2.6 and C 8.2.9.

We all know that the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has confirmed the position of the International Community (IOC and other IFs) in its decision ref no. CAS/2015/ A/4241 and CAS 2015 / A/ 4289, wherein it upheld the protection suspension taken by the IOC and other International Federations and recognized the elected Kuwait NOC and NSFs in 2013, in our case Kuwait Swimming Association, its President Sheikh Khalid Al Bader Al Sabah and Secretary General, Mr. Husain Al Musallam.

The letter of 3rd July has been sent by the non-existing and unrecognized body which call themselves the Interim Committee of Kuwait Swimming Association and is the product of the law conflicting with the FINA/ AASF Constitution. This letter is totally motivated considering the forthcoming FINA elections in Budapest on 22nd July 2017. This issue was also raised by Mr. Paolo Barelli, FINA Presidential Candidate, but his objection was clearly rejected by FINA in 2016 and 2017. FINA Ethic Panel confirmed the eligibility of Mr. Husain Al Musallam to stand for FINA Vice­President representing Asia for the term 2017-2021.

AASF accepted the nomination of Mr. Husain Al Musallam as a candidate representing the recognized Kuwait Swimming Association in its letter ref No. 76/16 dated 1 July 2016 after the closing of the deadline. FINA Bureau also took a decision on 13th September 2016 confirming that the current representative of Kuwait Swimming Association, namely Mr. Husain Al Musallam, is authorized to maintain or to be elected for positions in FINA bodies and in continental organizations. Mr. Paolo Barelli was part of this decision.

I would like to remind you that FINA/ AASF Constitution allows you to contact and deal only with the National Swimming Association recognized by FINA/ AASF and not with any other thirty party created by the conflicting laws.

The AASF General Assembly in Doha in 2016 unanimously voted in favor of Mr. Husain Al Musallam as the Asian representative for the position of Vice-President of FINA due to his dedication and hard work to the promotion and development of Aquatic Sports in Asia and worldwide, which all of you are a witness of.

The AASF strongly abides by its decision taken in Doha and extends its full support to Mr. Husain Al Musallam.

I also want express my support to the recent email from HE Sheikh Khalid B. Al Sabah, AASF President, in which he reiterated and seconded the unanimous decision made by all Asian National Federations during the 12th AAF General Congress in DOHA in support of our Asian representatives to the FINA Bureau, namely:

Husain Al Musallam FINA 1st Vice President

Mr. Pipat Paniangvait FINA Hon. Treasurer

Mr. Daichi Suzuki FINA Bureau member

Mr. Andrey Kryukov FINA Bureau member

Ms. Zhou Jihong FINA Bureau member (World-at-Large) FINA Bureau member (World-at-Large)

Mr. Taha Sulaiman Al Kishry (World-at-Large) FINA Bureau member (World-at-Large)

This is in addition to the recommendation Asia has extended in respect of Mr. Vladimir Salnikov (RUS) and Mr. Erik Van Heijningen (NLD) for FINA Bureau membership Europe – World at large.

I much appreciate this opportunity to encourage you all to stand by our decision and remain united insofar as our choice of our future aquatic leaders is concerned.

I look forward to meeting you in Budapest.  – Virendra Nanavati, Sr. Vice President, AASF

Read original letter on AASF letterhead