Paolo Barelli Will Serve A Third Four-Year Term After Being Re-Elected As President Of LEN

Paolo Barelli LEN President Press Conference 33rd LEN European Water Polo Championships - Barcelona 2018 Barcelona (ESP) - Piscines Bernat Picornell Photo Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto
Paolo Barelli: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Paolo Barelli has been re-elected as President of European governing body LEN following an emphatic victory over fellow candidate Gilles Sezionale.

David Sparkes will continue as general secretary – a position he has held since 2012 – and Fernando Carpena will be the new treasurer while Pia Holmen and Tunde Szabo make history as LEN appoint two female first vice-presidents for the first time.

Barelli received 86 votes to the 13 of Frenchman Sezionale at the LEN Congress at which there was an unprecedented 100% attendance by all 52 nations.


Photo Courtesy: LEN

The Congress was held by video conference given the pandemic.

Following his re-election, the Italian Barelli said:

“Even if we came together only on the web, this Congress was once again the celebration of our unity and a sound approval on everything we have achieved so far.

“In the past years, European aquatics enjoyed a really successful period and the benefits were significant.

“We were able to share those with our national federations offering them financial support and with our athletes who could earn ever-growing amounts of prize-money at our events.

“They are the front-runners in this success story, they deserve all credits for making Europe the number one continent in aquatics.”

Barelli spoke of the one million euros (1.187 million US dollars) LEN have distributed to the national federations to support them through the pandemic and beyond.

He added:

“We are on the right track to continue our stable growth.

“I know that this year has been challenging for all of us – and LEN wished to support its federations by distributing one million euros to ease the pressure the pandemic may have put on them.

“Still, I’m convinced that soon our life can get back to normal, all the pools will be reopen and we can enjoy the same vibe and excitement at the LEN Events as in the past.”


Tunde Szabo – Photo Courtesy: Tamaz Roth, Wikipedia

Holmen started as a swimming coach aged 14 and since then has performed a multitude of roles including general secretary of the Nordic Swimming Federation, as a board member of Anti-Doping Denmark and as the CEO/general secretary of the Danish Swimming Federation.

Szabo is the sports minister in Hungary and was the 1992 Olympic silver medallist in the 100m backstroke.

The longest serving active LEN official Dimitris Diathesopoulos of Greece – who has been a Bureau member since 1990 – also retained his role as vice-president along with Ukrainian Andriy Vlaskov and Marius van Zeijtz of the Netherlands.

Olympic champions Camelia Potec – who won the 200 free ahead of silver medallist Federica Pellegrini at Athens 2004 – and Alexandar Sostar, a member of the victorious Yugoslavia water polo team at Seoul 1988 – were also elected on to the Bureau.

Barelli, Sparkes, Carpena and Diathesopoulos will represent Europe in the FINA Bureau from 2021 with two more European candidates to be elected at the FINA Congress next June.

Former LEN treasurer Tamas Gyarfas and vice-president Christa Thiel were elected Honorary Members of LEN.

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