Gilles Sezionale has officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN European Aquatics). Sezionale is the current President of the French Swimming Federation, serving in that position since April 2017.
The LEN is the governing body of European aquatic sports, including swimming, open water swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo. Sezionale looks to take over for current LEN President Paolo Barelli. Barelli, a two time Olympian for Italy, has held the position since October of 2012.
Sezionale is running his campaign on a platform of transparency, saying that he believes “it is essential to have honest and reliable leaders who work in the public interest.” He goes on to explain;
“The LEN is in danger. We are in an unprecedented crisis. With the threats to the current president, the union is under threat. Today I represent a credible alternative to keep Europe united. My candidacy aims to guarantee unity on the subject of defending strong values. My only goal is to know the truth. To date, no one has bothered to answer me. The LEN deserves better than these practices from a bygone age.”
Expanding on his discussion of current President Paolo Barelli, Sezionale says that “today, the current president of the LEN is facing embezzlement charges. He is also the subject of two judicial inquiries.
“While I defend the presumption of innocence with the utmost vigor, the answers given by Paolo Barelli are far from convincing and his approach lacks transparency. I have repeatedly asked for tangible evidence that would have cleared any doubt towards him. The answers provided compelled me to act.
“As a member of the LEN Board, I consider the reputation of the institution to be at stake. I want to protect European swimming from a possible scandal.
“My candidacy is the defense of clean swimming.”
In a release by the French Swimming Federation, they say that “after 3 years as a member of the LEN Bureau, the president of the French Swimming Federation continues his campaign for the LEN Presidency in order to offer an alternative to the current president.
“Unable to bring himself to endorse troubled governance, Gilles Sezionale wished to put ethics and probity at the center of the mode of governance and thus advocates the defense of clean swimming. The pharmacist by profession has been involved for more than 30 years in the development of aquatic disciplines. Today, he wants to establish « more ethical and transparent governance» and put in place several mechanisms to harmonize the skills and competencies of the different key players at the European level.”
Sezionale has provided a 12-point breakdown of what he pledges to bring to the position should he be elected:
- Transparency: transparency and ethic as key words for LEN’s actions
- Ethics: creation of an independent ethics committee
- Integrity: create a tender commission and establish clear guideline
- Probity: bring more transparency in the attribution process of continental events
- Responsiveness: reduce travel and favor more frequent meetings through
- Performance: establish collaboration between national federations to aim at the excellence of European swimming based on a global aquatics sports project driven by a technical director
- Shared ambition: increase the number of swimmers in all 52 countries by enhancing the societal dimension and sharing / spreading best practices related to the learn-to-swim and aquatic ease approaches
- Sustainability: set up a strong environmental and societal commitments for each event organization
- Education: create and deliver a European certification on clubs’ & equipments management
- Inclusion: promote the rotation of European events and their organizations in smaller countries
- Equality: edit documents in more languages to bring LEN closer to its members
- Innovation: generate additional revenues to be redistributed to Federations
The 52 member federations will cast their votes on November 8th, 2020 as a part of the 2020 LEN Congress.