After the FINA suspension of the Mexican Swimming Federation for failure to pay a fine relating to withdrawing as hosts of the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, the rhetoric between the two sides has heated up, with the president of the Mexican Federation speaking publicly against FINA, and then resigning from his role on the FINA Technical Committee.
As for what impact the suspension will have on the aquatic athletes, however, both sides have been mute. The Mexican Swimming Federation has not responded to requests for more information, while FINA has said that information about the cause, length, and effects of the suspension are “confidential” and that no more information will be released.
One member of the Mexican National Team system, who spoke to SwimSwam on the condition of anonymity, did reveal some details about what the swimmers have been told are the direct effects of the suspension on them.
Thus far, the effect on the athletes is minimal, the swimmer said. “For now, all we know is that we will represent FINA in swimming events and the IOC in the Olympics.”
The swimmer speculated that he or she does not believe that the Mexican Federation will wind up paying the fine if an appeal made by president Kiril Todorov doesn’t go through.
As the swimmer explained, the conversation happening behind the curtains in Mexican swimming is that with the current relative strength of the U.S. dollar, the currency that FINA typically deals in, the $5 million fine equates to nearly Mex$100 million. When compared to the overall budget for the ministry of sports in Mexico of Mex$2800 million, this results in about 3% of the Mexican national sports budget just having to go toward covering the fine.
For now, the impact on the Mexican athletes themselves will be minimal (and probably less so than if the Mexican Federation had actually paid the fine). We will continue to follow-up with interested parties on the appeal and on what other sanctions might be coming.
This could have an impact on medal ceremonies if not resolved by the Olympics; their men’s platform duo of Ivan Garcia and German Sanchez won silver in the synchronized 10 meter event at the World Aquatics Championships last year.