Nothing Has Changed: Former ISL Executives Claim League Still Has Unpaid Bills

Energy Standard team during the 2021 ISL season -- Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu/ISL

Nothing Has Changed: Former ISL Executives Claim League Still Has Unpaid Bills

During the 2020 ISL semifinal round, Energy Standard GM Jean-François Salessy abruptly announced he was leaving his position. Salessy released an open letter to ISL founder Konstantin Grigorishin to announce his decision. Long before Grigorishin founded the league, he had established the Energy Standard Swim Club, and Salessy claimed that Grigorishin’s “hand-picked coach” had fought against signing French swimmers beyond Florent Manaudou to a supposedly Paris-based team.

Salessy also claimed Grigorishin had ignored reasonable sponsorship ideas Salessy had suggested, hurting the ISL’s financial situation and leaving the league unable to fulfill all its financial responsibilites at the end of the 2020 season. He slammed the league for its treatment of employees and associates and called the ISL “an iceberg with an attractive visible part and an immersed dark side.”

Now, Salessy has reemerged to claim that “nothing’s changed” about the league, and he claimed that outstanding bills from previous seasons remain unpaid as of September 17. A statement released Friday from Salessy and ISL ex-commercial director Hubert Montcoudiol claimed that the actual payments the ISL have doled out have been on an “arbitrary basis.”

“Elite swimmers, but not all, some audiovisual production partners, and other essential vendors are paid on an arbitrary basis when others are not,” the statement said. “The list of victims of such behaviors includes some Hungarian vendors, a communication agency, press officials, travel agencies, team managers, operational directors, webmasters, digital agency specialists and other consultants.”

The statement goes on to say that the lack of media coverage during ISL season 3 “sounds obvious in such conditions.” The league has placed most of its match live streaming behind an in-house subscription service, although select racing is available on broadcast and cable television worldwide.

That statement concludes with the sentiment that “the swimming ecosystem doesn’t need to be weakened any further. Generating hopes and then disappointing them is terrible.”

The ISL regular season has taken place entirely in Naples, Italy, and while the meets have been exciting to watch and clearly a fun experience for the swimmers in attendance, the racing is watered-down with many top competitors missing the five weeks of racing following their Olympic campaigns. The regular season has received little attention outside of the sport’s core fans just weeks after a captivating Olympic Games in Tokyo drew in fans from around the world.

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