FINA Hands Former LEN President Paolo Barelli Two-Year Suspension

After handing him a provisional suspension in September, FINA’s independent Ethics Panel suspended former LEN President Paolo Barelli for two years on Tuesday.

Barelli, the President of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN), was initially provisionally suspended for alleged wrongdoing in three separate cases, including multiple rule violations of the FINA Constitution and the FINA Code of Ethics.

The Ethics Panel has since investigated the allegations and unanimously decided to impose sanctions that will ban Barelli from taking part in any aquatic-related activities under the auspices of its FINA or its members.

According to FINA, Barelli’s rule violations included:

  • The unilateral signing of an addendum to a contract between LEN and FIN, that would benefit the latter by between  500 000 and  1 500 000 
  • The claiming of expenses totalling € 495 587.22 from the Italian Olympic Committee, on behalf of FIN, despite these already having been paid by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. This was found by the appeal chamber of the Italian Court of Auditors to have caused pecuniary damages. 

You can find the FINA Ethics Panel decisions below:

Barelli’s suspension came into effect on Sept. 14, 2022.

He will be ineligible to run the Italian Swimming Federation during his suspension.

Barelli immediately responded to the suspension, claiming that he will take the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and that he “will win.”

“I will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and I will win because I oppose an obviously not definitive sentence, without foundation, absurd, infamous and with evident repercussions on my activity in the sports and political fields and consequently on the entire movement. I deny any wrongdoing,” he said, according to Italian news agency Adnkronos.

In addition to being the former LEN President and current President of the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN), the 68-year-old Barelli is a former FINA Vice President and previously sat on the FINA Bureau. He served a four-year term from 2009-2013 with FINA as Honorary Secretary.

Last year, after being re-elected to another four-year term as LEN President in 2020, Barelli’s administration received a vote of no confidence and he was abruptly voted out of the leadership role that he had held since 2012. The group that took over his post, led by Portugal’s António José Silva, received support from Al-Musallam and FINA in the move.

In 2020, Barelli was put under investigation for allegations of financial misconduct.

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2 months ago

Corrupt lol. Nothing surprising either way. Any top organisation will always be filled with corrupt people

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
2 months ago

The new president of fina was supposed to start cleaning the corruption but he is deeper in it than ever. His head is in the toilet.

2 months ago

Fina top table has always been full of corruption. Filth.
Next one out should be Jihong Zhou from China. A well-known cheat.

Reply to  Larissa
2 months ago

A purge is needed. Chinese corruption

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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