Commentary on France’s Ban of Polyurethane Suits

Guest editorial by Steven V. Selthoffer

PARIS, France, July 1. IN a press release on June 29, Francis Luce, the President of the French Swimming Federation (Federation Francaise De Natation) and FINA Executive Bureau Member, announced that France was banning polyurethane suits, in whole or in part, imposing the FINA May 19 list of approved suits and not the recent and revised, FINA June 22 list, from all French swimming competitions effective immediately.

Msr. Francis Luce and the FFN deserve the applause of the international swimming family for their leadership for unilaterally taking a stronger ethical position of restrictions on high technology suits than FINA's.

Luce and the FFN have demonstrated that they are placing the interest of the athletes first, and working hard to protect the integrity of the sport, no longer relying on FINA's guidance. Credit should also be given to France's L'Equipe sport writers and others who have been diligent in recently challenging the administration of FINA rule applications with new technologies in light of the 16-month wave of new world records.

FINA's weak leadership, substandard enforcement of foundational rules, and a reversal of the previous ban on certain suits, in the Dubai Charter and the "Three Step Process," has now called into question the legitimacy of the competition in FINA's 13th World Championships in Rome.

What is good for the sport is already clear, and people like Luce and the FFN are rightfully taking matters into their own hands, determining their own course of action.

No doubt, other countries will follow France's lead. Good for them. With the FINA General Congress planned for July 24 in Rome, the sport is demanding new leadership and France's Luce has raised the standard.

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