Citing War in Ukraine and Financial Concerns, ISL Cancels 2022 Season; Plans to Return in 2023

ISL ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 8 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Citing War in Ukraine and Financial Concerns, ISL Cancels 2022 Season; Plans to Return in 2023

According to a letter sent to swimmers by the International Swimming League, and obtained by two-time Australian Olympian Brett Hawke, the league will not operate Season Four during 2022. Citing the war in Ukraine and financial issues, the ISL has decided to postpone the season until 2023. The decision significantly opens up the 2022 calendar, as the ISL season was expected to run for five months, from June through October.

The letter repeatedly discusses financial concerns, which have been an issue with the league since its inception. On several occasions, athletes and employees of the league have indicated they were not paid for services.

Here is the letter that was sent to athletes:

As you all know, the ISL faces a force majeure situation due to the war in Ukraine. The war has destroyed lives, families and homes. Many of our ISL colleagues remain trapped in Kyiv, and the conflict seems poised to continue for the foreseeable future.

Facing this situation, and given that most of the ISL’s financing originates from Ukraine, we cannot in good faith commit to hosting any commercial matches in 2022. As such, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Season 4 to 2023.

Importantly, our first obligation remains to yourselves. The decision had been made because we recognise that we cannot ask you to travel, train and compete on a promise alone. Rather, we must settle all of the ISL’s outstanding payments to each of you before we can push forward to another season.

In the meantime, the league will use this period to reflect, and to adjust our plans moving forward. We will pursue more innovative strategies for commercialism, embrace more frequent and transparent communication, and include consultation with the swimming community concerning our rules and our schedule as a critical part of the ISL’s process.

These steps forward will be overseen by an expanded leadership team who will not take compensation until all of you have been paid, because they truly believe in the ISL’s potential to transform our sport.

We understand this will be difficult news for many of you. However, this is necessary to secure the league’s long-term sustainability, and to break the cycle of starting a new season whilst still being indebted to you.

The ISL is not going away. We just need some time in order to come back stronger, and we thank you for your understanding, patience and support in the meantime.

We will be in touch soon, with updates on payment and other developments in the league.



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9 months ago

I’ve got a really bad feeling about the future (or lack thereof) for the ISL. Hopefully I’m wrong.