FINA Memo: Discussions Ongoing With Energy Standard & ISL

A FINA memo yesterday noted that the federation is “engaged in discussions” with the Energy Standard Group and the International Swimming League (ISL), but that FINA will “resist any challenges to its status” as the international governing body for swimming.

As we previously informed you,” writes FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu, “we have been engaged in discussions with Energy Standard Group/ISL in order to find an agreement which would serve the interests of all parties concerned, in particular, the swimmers of the world.

Marculescu writes that FINA’s “main consideration is always for the swimmers, coaches and National Federations,” but also makes clear that “FINA will resist any challenges to its status as the international nongovernmental organisation governing the sport of swimming at the world level.”

The memo is the next chapter in an ongoing struggle between FINA and the ISL, an organization that hopes to organize a series of meets focuses on spectator enjoyment and athlete compensation, but that some view as a potential rival to FINA as the world’s governing body for swimming. The ISL tried to organize a meet in December that they say FINA refused to recognize. Then, ISL officials helped create a meet with a similar format, only hosted by the Italian Swimming Federation and funded by the Energy Standard Group. A last-minute rule interpretation by FINA left that meet unapproved, with athletes staring down bans of up to two years for competing. The Italian Federation canceled the meet, but meet organizers termed the move a “postponement,” with a similar format meet potentially being rescheduled down the road.

Further context:

You can view Marculescu’s full letter here, or below:

Dear FINA Family Members,
As we previously informed you, we have been engaged in discussions with Energy Standard Group/ISL in order to find an agreement which would serve the interests of all parties concerned, in particular, the swimmers of the world. In order to avoid any misunderstanding and to prevent any misinterpretation of the situation, we will continue to provide timely updates to the FINA Family on this matter.

We want you to know that as far as FINA is concerned our main consideration is always for the swimmers, coaches and National Federations. The harmonious development of the calendar is critical to achieving this consideration. It must be clear, meanwhile, that FINA will resist any challenges to its status as the international nongovernmental organisation governing the sport of swimming at the world level, as provided by the Olympic Charter.

Therefore, we hereby ask you to inform all your members that our main goal is to protect the swimmers’ rights and opportunities, and to ensure full compliance with all applicable rules of FINA be ensured by all those concerned.

Thanking you for your cooperation and looking forward to meeting you at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou.

With best regards,

Cornel MARCULESCU
FINA Executive Director

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50free
2 years ago

“FINA will resist any challenges to its status as the governing body of swimming.” At least they are admitting the care about power and are afraid of losing it.

Yozhik
Reply to  50free
2 years ago

What do you think Energy Standard Group cares about? Money. And they won’t get it being out of power. Under this angle both FINA and Energy Standard Group are two of a kind.
The way how pro swimming is going to be depends completely on pro swimmers and their relationships with national associations. Until they give up on FINA’s world championships and most likely on Olympic Games (IOC won’t accept them if not through FINA) there would be no win situation. They should do what tennis players did. But I’m not sure they are ready for that yet.
Relationships within national associations are even more complicated. There are plenty of political, cultural and traditional ties that are not… Read more »

Jambo Sana
2 years ago

FINA needs to understand that they need to continually earn the right to work for the athletes, not the other way around. What a shame the way they allowed Russian athletes to compete in Rio despite being exposed as instituting a systematic program of cheating.

Performance enhancing drugs is not a victimless crime. How many innocent athletes were denied Olympic Medals because of Russian drug cheats? Who got 4th in the woman’s 100M and 200M breaststroke where 2x drug cheat Yuliya Efimova stole their medals. Imagine getting up early and training 5,000 times to get 4th behind a Russian drug cheat. Imagine the sacrifices made by the athlete and athlete’s family only to be cheated by a Russian drug cheat.

Coach Josh
2 years ago

[Marculescu writes that FINA’s “main consideration is always for the swimmers, coaches and National Federations,”]

This is a flat out lie. If this were true they would have let the meet happen and realized this was an amazing step for popularizing the sport and allowing more swimmers to make a legitimate living as a professional athlete.

They prioritize their own power much more than Athletes, Coaches, National Federations and The Sport of Swimming.

straightblackline
Reply to  Coach Josh
2 years ago

I agree entirely. The statement that “our main goal is to protect the swimmers’ rights and opportunities” almost had me choking. Swimmers have a right to earn some reward for all their hard work and to deny them that opportunity smacks of self-preservation by FINA and is anti-competitive and therefore unlawful in most Western jurisdictions.

M Palota
2 years ago

For the Americans in the audience: Before you get all up in arms about FINA trampling athletes’ rights, please take a look at your NCAA’s. Those guys make FINA look like pikers.

Swimmer A
Reply to  M Palota
2 years ago

FINA is definitely worse.

Oldswimfan
Reply to  M Palota
2 years ago

And your swimmers keep coming to join NCAA…

Not ‘real’ money to be made at NCAA swimming, but free education for foreign swimmers? That’d do it!

Admin
Reply to  Oldswimfan
2 years ago

I **believe** M Palota is Italian, and there really haven’t been that many Italians in the NCAA system (save for Italian-Americans, like Condorelli and D’Arrigo).

Whether the NCAA is worse than FINA or not probably depends on what sport you play. I think NCAA swimmers, broadly, get a pretty good deal (though not many get ‘free’ education, most are just ‘reduced price’) when you consider the facilities and the training and the nutrition and other stuff that they get access to at the top schools.

So, swimmers probably get a better deal from the NCAA than they do from FINA.

Football and basketball players, however, probably get a worse deal from the NCAA than swimmers do from FINA.

Ecoach
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Don’t think football with there what is it 75 scholarships at between 30 and 80,000 per year are getting ripped off. Nobody knows these players until the university recruits them, puts them in 100,000 seat stadiums, promotes them and gives the best training facilities in the world. I agree that the NCAA rules especially vis a vis sponsorship are out of touch but I don’t feel bad for the 3rd string punter getting a full ride and I definitely don’t feel bad for the 99.9% of players whose names we would never know except for the fact they play at our alma mater. And basketball with the players who use the the NCAA especially the Tourney to build their fandom,… Read more »

Ecoach
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

By the way FINA stinks let the swimmers swim.

simon
2 years ago

Money dictates everything. We all know FINA and how terrible they are and I completely agree with everyone that they need replacing or at least urgent reforming but excessive obsession with money can lead to terrible corruption and arrogant attitudes. I’m from England and a Cricket fan, I’ve seen the example of Kerry Packer used and how he ‘revolutionised’ the game of Cricket with T20, in a way that’s true but it’s given us match fixing, greed, corrupt betting and the demise of the traditional game of Test Cricket. The same with Equestrian Show Jumping, a new series of events called Global Champions Tour has made a few people rich but destroyed it in many other ways, the value of… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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