Aqua Centurion team captain Fabio Scozzoli has responded to the rumors surrounding the potential of an athlete boycott for the playoff phase of the International Swimming League (ISL) season, claiming that pulling out of the campaign is simply not an option for the swimmers.
On Saturday it was reported that ISL clubs and athletes were mulling a boycott of the playoff round, set to begin on November 11, due to the fact that athletes, staff and contractors had not been paid in full from last season.
“It’s not good enough. I’m really hoping all athletes are paid in full from last season before the playoffs commence on November 11,” London Roar general manager Rob Woodhouse told the Sydney Morning Herald.
SwimSwam Italia recently caught up with Scozzoli, one of the leaders of the Aqua Centurions, to ask him about the possibility of an athlete boycott.
Scozzoli, who has been competing with the Centurions since the league’s inaugural season in 2019, said he hadn’t heard anything about a possible boycott from his fellow athletes and believes this type of move would not be beneficial for the sport in the long run.
“I was irritated by the words read these days,” Scozzoli, translated from Italian, told SwimSwam Italia. “First of all, because I was not aware that anyone was thinking of boycotting the second round of the season, among athletes it has never been talked about, and these statements surprised me.
“Also, and I think this is the most important thing to underline, an action of this type would not benefit anyone, on the contrary, it would be a defeat for the whole world of swimming.
“Thanks to the ISL we have returned to talk about swimming even outside the major events and this league has brought a breath of fresh air to a sport that needed it. Surely the historical period did not help to ensure that the project sustained itself economically, and to date, the only financier is the founder, but I have no doubt that what the ISL has given to swimming in recent years is a huge help, for which all of us athletes should be grateful.”
The 33-year-old Scozzoli added that it’s understandable for athletes to be upset about not receiving their full payments, but says “the delay of a few months is an effort that, for the good of the project, we can support.”
He added that he and his teammates all received their final payments for the 2020 season during the 2021 regular season in Naples.
“The boycott is not an option. And I am happy that many high-profile athletes have expressed themselves in this direction in a group chat after the news of these days,” Scozzoli said.
“I understand the first wave of impatience in front of a non-payment, but we must see the design as a whole, a boycott, or the failure of the International Swimming League, would not only lead to the closure of this chapter of professional swimming, but would also prevent the creation of similar ideas in the future. There is no point in fighting against ourselves when we should focus our efforts in the same direction.”