Husain Al Musallam Signals Desire for FINA to Work with ISL

Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Husain Al Musallam Signals Desire for FINA to Work with ISL

FINA on Thursday extended an invitation to the International Swimming League to work together, reversing FINA’s formerly adversarial stance toward the independent league.

New FINA president Husain Al Musallam has pledged to introduce reforms regarding revenue sharing and other aspects in taking over for Julio Maglione, who had been in charge for 12 years. Under Maglione, FINA was opposed to the creation of the ISL in 2017, urging national federations to refuse to release athletes to the league or threaten bans against those participating.

Very little of that came to pass thanks to the determination (and litigation) of top swimmers, and FINA cleared athletes to compete in the league in 2019 for the first season. Al Musallam, who was elected FINA president earlier this month, appears set to lead the organization in a new tack with regard to the ISL and its founder, Konstantin Grigorishin.

“For me as president of FINA, my door is open for ISL or any other commercial operation,” Al Musallam said in a conference call, as reported by Reuters. “We will work with ISL if ISL would like to work with FINA. … If any entity would like to play a positive role to help the movement I will be the first one to congratulate them and shake their hand.”

ISL completed the 2020 season in a bubble in Budapest. They are embarking on season three after the Olympics. Many governing bodies have reported huge reductions in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ISL represents a significant infusion of funds and television attention for the sport beyond Olympic competition.

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