Paolo Barelli Criticizes FINA Over Committee Appointments

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Paolo Barelli, the President of the European Swimming Federation, has again issued a letter criticizing FINA. Barelli, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for FINA President this year, continues to argue that Europe is under-represented within FINA.

In an open letter addressed to FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu, Barelli stated his “clear disappointment” in FINA’s committee appointments. He believed that, based on the results of the recently-completed FINA World Championships in Budapest, Europe was shafted.

Barelli showed in a series of statistics how Europe was the top-performing continent in Budapest. In particular, Barelli noted 46.1 percent of medalists and 49.1 percent of finalists all hailing from that continent.

Next, Barelli wrote:

“These figures only confirm the important role which the European LEN Members play within FINA. This is furthermore indicative of the important and essential role which officials coming from European Member countries have within the management of FINA events and activities.

“The important and valuable contribution of such persons has been totally disregarded and the FINA leadership has done nothing to remedy this state of affairs.

“As I have already informed you this behaviour by the FINA leadership confirms the intentional divisive attitude being utilised. As you are very much aware I have already denounced this in the past.

“Furthermore, I ask the FINA leadership to not attribute to Europe such appointments as those which are made directly and exclusively by FINA including persons employed with FINA itself.”

Finally, he declared that the Italian Swimming Federation, of which he is President, would decline would “relinquish the appointments nominated to the FINA Committees.”

Barelli’s support for Europe is nothing new, nor is this the first time he has argued that Europe is under-served within FINA. Unsurprisingly, his support during his FINA Presidential bid came largely from Europe, before he was defeated by incumbent Julio Maglione.

He has also (unsuccessfully) sued several FINA officials in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing conflict of interest.

Read Barelli’s full letter (on the LEN website) by clicking here.