FINA Awards Russian President Vladimir Putin With Controversial FINA Order

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, October 10. Today, FINA has announced that is awarded Russian President Vladimir Putin with the FINA Order.  This took place at the international conference “Russia – A Sport Power” in Cheboksary, Russia.

This is the highest recognition that FINA can present, and FINA president Dr. Julio Maglione was on hand to present it.  The Order is presented to “individuals of high dignitiy, who have achieved remarkable merit in the world of Aquatics.”  FINA listed just how many major Aquatics events Russia has hosted in recent years, and that Russia continues to put the time and money into hosting events such as the 2015 World Championships in Kazan next summer.

“Russia is undoubtedly one of the most important and major powers in world sport. These achievements are only possible thanks to the active support from the Russian authorities to Aquatics. The personal involvement of President Putin in this area greatly contributes to strengthen the fraternity between nations, improve the lifestyle and education of the youth in Russia and promote a healthier society, in a spirit of peace and friendship,” Maglione said.

The award does not come without controversy, considering Russia has been reported to be at risk of being suspended from international competitions due to the large influx of positive doping tests from its swimmers, including former world-record holder Yuliya Efimova.

In June, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the Russian media that the country was in jeopardy of being punished.

“The number of breaches of anti-doping rules in the international arena is on the brink,” Mutko told Russian media in June. “One or two more breaches and the federation could be suspended altogether.”

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculesu, however, deflected the issue when asked about it as he went with a no comment before transitioning over to talking about Russia’s strong hosting ability.

“The facilities are amazing and FINA is receiving a great support from the authorities of the Russian Federation and of the Republic of Tatarstan,” Marculescu said in June. “The personal commitment of Mr. Mutko, Russian Minister of Sport, and of Mr. (Rustam) Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, are strong guarantees that FINA’s major event will be a success.”

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8 years ago

For shame.

Seth Hoff
8 years ago

Unbelievable. What a capitulation to a dictatorial power, when a statement for freedom and inclusion would have been so much more powerful and meaningful.

Neil Stapley
8 years ago

Why? These dictators continue to use sport as some kind of baton to their own greatness, while treating the training camps like sweatshops. Its ok that their citizens are starving or that no one really has any freedom because wow their facilities are great. Awards like this should come under the banner of sanctions, ok FINA is a world governing body but I bet your bottom dollar that the majority of funding comes from the US. Stop giving this nut job a platform.

David B
8 years ago

Many people similarly praised Hitler for supporting sports – so assuredly history repeats itself in this, in the Sochi Formula One race, and other arenas. Should we shut one eye while Putler lies about direct financial and military support to those killing Ukrainians in their sovereign country or should (supposedly) reputable organizations look at more than self-aggrandizing kleptocracies support for sports before issuing statements like this?