Asia, Africa Sign Up in Support of Julio Maglione in FINA Fight

On July 22nd the FINA Congress will gather in Budapest to determine whether incumbent Julio Maglione or challenger Paolo Barelli will lead FINA and the global aquatic community through the fresh quad and into 2021.

As the days before the Congress dwindle, more federations are stepping forward to endorse one or the other candidate. Today, however, the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF) and the African Swimming Federation (CANA) both published spirited letters in favor of Maglione.

Moreover, CANA seemingly accused Barelli of bribery, stating:

“Mr Paolo Barelli, the FINA Honorary Secretary, has been circulating several letters to FINA National Federations, seeking support for his candidature for the President of FINA. Apparently, he is now circulating messages promising financial contributions in his attempt to woe the Federations.”

The letter from CANA went on to claim that Barelli “did not even have the courtesy to respond” when invited to the CANA Congress held in Bloemfontein, South Africa, last year.  Conversely, Maglione made the journey and won over the members of CANA who “decided unanimously to give full support for him to continue as FINA President until 2021.”

CANA’s letter also seemingly rebukes statements made by Barelli that developing swimming federations from around the world are given little attention by Maglione, asserting that Maglione “will also include expanding scholarship for swimmers from developing countries. He mentioned that he had also discussed this issue with the continental Presidents of Asia, America and Oceania which needed similar types of assistance.”

The letter from the AASF spent less time on Barelli but still spoke highly of Maglione.  The main focus of the AASF letter instead focused on the legitimacy of FINA First Vice President Husain Al-Musallam, and was seemingly issued as a response to a letter published earlier this week by the Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA) which claimed Al-Musallam received preferential treatment by FINA and per the FINA Constitution should not be eligible to hold a seat on the FINA Bureau.

The AASF mainly attempted to take down the KSA by claiming that it is a “non-existing and unrecognized body… and is a product of the law conflicting with the FINA/AASF Constitution.” The AASF also claimed that the letter from the KSA was “totally motivated considering the forthcoming FINA elections in Budapest on 22nd July 2017.”

The AASF did not mention that Al-Musallam is presumably under investigation by the United States Department of Justice for a bribery scandal involving FIFA and other high-ranking members of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Other federations have also spoken out both in favor and against those currently presiding over the FINA Bureau. In a recent letter from Dale Neuburger, President of UANA, Neuburger on behalf of the organization, endorsed Maglione for a third-consecutive term at the helm of FINA. The Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA), meanwhile, recently voiced concerns regarding FINA First Vice President, Husain Al-Musallam, also from Kuwait. While the KSA did not specifically call out Maglione, it claimed FINA was currently in violation of a number of its own rules per the FINA Constitution, and declared that Al-Musallam received preferential treatment by FINA’s leadership.

The KSA also claimed that the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF) was in violation of FINA rules due to its continued support of Al-Musallam as FINA First Vice President. Kuwait, as a suspended member of the IOC and FINA, should not be allowed to have a delegate on the FINA Bureau, argues the KSA.

Paolo Barelli has said the same, and also that FINA’s “Constitution is very clear… [members] inside FINA don’t want to interpret the constitution correctly. This is not good governance.”

Barelli has been vocal in his criticisms of FINA, and until now international and continental federations had been relatively quiet about who they would support in the upcoming election.

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4 years ago

Wait so… Kuwait is mad because there is a kuwaitian official within fina that they argue the Asian swimming federation is trying to keep in power but Kuwait is suspended so Kuwait believes that kuwaitians shouldn’t be allowed to be officials within fina? Did I interpret that correctly?

Reply to  Confused
4 years ago

If you had to summarize it in one sentence, that’s pretty close.

Reply to  Confused
4 years ago

Good guy Kuwait

Tom from Chicago
4 years ago

Dale Neuberger and TSE Consulting should be banned from any FINA contracts. Neuberger shouldn’t be both a FINA employee AND consultant. This conflict of interest is textbook corruption. Neuberger sends out a letter on behalf of UANA, but doesn’t disclose he is a FINA employee or FINA contractor.

The heat on this election is good. Hopefully, it will burn off some off these impurities.

I would be interested in hearing why the US is supporting Maglione. The US support should come with a demand for financial transparency and improved PED doping policies that protect the innocent.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Tom from Chicago
4 years ago

In the recent 2 years I both called & emailed Dale Neuberger to request FINA financial statements. He was initially gracious & made assurances that FINA has those docs & ‘nothing to hide’. I never got more than follow on promises to get to that. About 6 months ago I wrote again & he left a voice mail stating that FINA ‘had made all the requested compulsory disclosures to me’ added ‘if I had any additional questions, I should directly contact FINA for them’.

I called him back with my number blocked & he picked up. I told him I didn’t get anything via mail from FINA or anyone else & also noted to him that the only contact data… Read more »

4 years ago

Fina will destroy itself

bobo gigi
4 years ago

A mafia

Andrei Vorontsov
4 years ago

Stop dreaming, my friends. FINA will not destroy itself. It may last forever without external push. Besides, it is very sweet deal for more than 20 USA citizens-members of FINA Bureau, committees and commissions. It may be destroyed only by coordinated actions of large National Federations supported by swimmers and coaches. Let’s imagine for example, that one day (in the end of the World Aquatic Champs) swimming federations of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden ++++ will issue statement in which they declare that their membership in FINA is seized to be continued any longer and they form a new International Swimming Association which will run their own competitive programme, development programme, etc. under the new… Read more »

The Bull
Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
4 years ago

It may not actually destroy itself, but it sure does seem like it’s trying pretty hard sometimes.

Reply to  Andrei Vorontsov
4 years ago

Swimming as an intl sport cannot survive without the Olympic link as it has no real “professional circuit” behind it. The IOC, these days, are a rather pragmatic lot and, whilst they will only deal with the clearly established intl body, will not support indefinitely those “members of the club” who are letting down the side/embarassing not just themselves, their sports but the wider Olympic movement. I DO think you are making a dangerous assumption with regards to TV coverage. As it is, many major broadcasting bodies are less and less willing to pay top $$$ for the rights to major international sporting comps or are at minimum becoming very selective. The problem for swimming is that its not really… Read more »

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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