On the 111th anniversary of the organization’s founding, FINA, the international governing body for aquatic sports, passed a number of rule changes at its annual General Congress meeting, taking place in Gwangju, South Korea during its World Championships.
Delegates from 167 of the 209 National Federations were in attendance.
Among the items on the agenda was to approve 2017-2018 financial statements, which passed unanimously following a recommendation from the FINA Audit Committee and from the independent auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers SA. FINA also passed a number of rules in regarding its constitution, anti-doping policies, and facilities rules.
The next election for FINA president takes place in 2020; current president Maglione has held the position since 2009. After FINA already changed the age maximums for the FINA Bureau, in a year when Julio would have otherwise been too old, this change would allow Maglione to serve another term on the FINA executive even if he were to lose the next election, in 2021.
The organization sent the following rule change highlights in a press release:
- Change in the composition of the Executive, which will now include nine persons (increased from seven), namely the Immediate Past President.
- National Federations and Continental must hold general assemblies every two years and elective congresses every four years. Reports of these Assemblies must be presented to FINA.
- The Bureau has the right to suspend a member if it is unable to preserve its independence for reasons beyond its control (example: governmental interference).
- Seven members of the FINA Athletes Committee will have the right to vote in the FINA Congress.
- Creation of a FINA Electoral Commission, formed by independent members, which will oversee the electoral process and have the final decision for the office of FINA President, FINA Vice-Presidents and FINA Bureau Members. In parallel, the Congress was informed of the Bureau’s approval of “Regulations for Elections”, which will be included in the FINA By-laws.
- Members of FINA organising or sanctioning the organisation of a competition shall strictly enforce or procure the enforcement of FINA rules, including but not limited to the rules governing eligibility at or in connection with the competition.
- On FINA Doping Control Rules, the delegates approved minor adjustments following the recent partnership between FINA and ITA (International Testing Agency). As part of this agreement, the out-of competition testing programme will be performed by ITA, while FINA remains responsible for the in-competition controls.
- On Facilities Rules, the delegates approved the improvement of technical aspects in aquatic venues.
In his speech to the delegates, FINA President Julio Maglione also said that the host locations for the 2025 and 2027 FINA World Championships will be decided this Sunday. “Establishing a long-term calendar is important to guarantee that FINA’s is in a stable situation and generates the necessary funds in a time of challenges and very competitive international sports environment,” Maglione said. Fukuoka, Japan is slated to host the 2021 edition, and Doha, Qatar, will host in 2023.