Court Decides In Favour Of World Aquatics In Lawsuits Related To ISL

Foto Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse 20 Dicembre 2019 Las Vegas - USAsport nuoto 2019 ISL - International Swimming LeagueNella foto: Trofeo Photo Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse December 20, 2019 Las Vegas - USAsport swimming 2019 ISL - International Swimming League In the picture: trophy
Foto: Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse

The U.S. District Court in San Francisco has decided in favour of World Aquatics in two separate lawsuits filed by the International Swimming League and a trio of elite swimmers in 2018.

The ISL sued the global federation then known as FINA for anti-competitive conduct while American pair Tom Shields and Michael Andrew along with Katinka Hosszu – a trio boasting six Olympic titles between them – filed a class action lawsuit.

World Aquatics released a statement in response to the court’s finding there had been no alleged restraint of trade on the part of FINA.

It read:

“The Court acknowledges the record is replete with evidence of FINA’s concern about competition from ISL.

“But, so what? The antitrust laws do not require one competitor to help another compete with it; instead, they prohibit only unreasonable restraints of trade.”

The Energy for Swim meet scheduled for December 2018 was cancelled amid accusations of FINA threatening to sanction swimmers who participated.

The Court found that World Aquatics had made no attempt to stop such competitions by sanctioning swimmers.

“There is no rule (and never was) that allows FINA to penalize a swimmer who participates in a competition that is not affiliated with a member federation, and no evidence that FINA ever did, or even threatened to do so.”

The statement also said the Court agreed the ISL could have staged its own swimming competitions independently, and that World Aquatics together with its member federations do not have monopoly power to control competition:

“It is undisputed that top-tier swimmers are not bound by contract to swim only in FINA-sanctioned competitions. Indeed, the undisputed evidence is that ISL can and does sponsor top-tier swimming competitions without any affiliation with member federations.”

World Aquatics President Captain Husain Al-Musallam said:

“World Aquatics is grateful to Judge Corley for her thoughtful and just decision. We are pleased that it brings an end to a period of uncertainty.

“And we are thankful for the clarity that the Court’s decision provides.

“This is an important decision and also a good decision, not just for World Aquatics, but for the Olympic Movement and beyond.”

Commenting on the decision, World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki said:

“This was, and always has been, an avoidable controversy. We look forward to putting it behind us, as we look forward to delivering an exciting calendar of opportunities for all aquatics athletes, to whom World Aquatics remains deeply committed.”


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