After nearly two weeks of waiting, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu has issued an official response on FINA letterhead to the frustrated and vocal Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA).
- Read Marculescu’s response
- Read Kuwait’s first letter
- Read Kuwait’s second letter
Earlier this month the KSA published a list of complaints against FINA and the Asian Swimming Association (AASF), requesting its delegate and FINA First Vice President, Husain Al-Musallam, be removed from the FINA Bureau and from his position as a delegate of Kuwait in the AASF. After nearly a week with no response, the KSA published another complaint requesting a response from FINA.
Now, FINA has answered, but not in the manner the KSA hoped.
In the response, Marculescu calls the KSA documents “misleading,” declaring the FINA Bureau “has decided by majority vote to entirely reject the content of the said complaint.” Marculescu also denounced the KSA, calling it a “group of persons or persons who are neither qualified nor recognized as having any authority to commit our suspended member.”
In a numbered list, Marculescu recounts FINA’s timeline of Kuwait’s suspension by FINA and the IOC. The first point states “FINA’s decision… was taken within a highly sensitive political environment, with the Kuwaiti Government aiming at taking over the control and leadership of sport in Kuwait.” On this, both FINA and the KSA are more-or-less in agreement. However, point number two is contentious with the KSA’s interpretation of the FINA Constitution.
Though Kuwait remains suspended by FINA and the IOC, Marculescu and the FINA Bureau uphold Al-Musallam’s appointment to the Bureau: “Regarding the scope and effects of such suspension, the FINA Bureau, in application of art. 4.4.GR Rules has decided that the current representatives of the Kuwait Swimming Federation are authorized to maintain or to be elected (emphasis added) for positions in FINA Bodies and in Continental Organizations.”
Answering a point made by Homoud Obaid Al-Hajiri, the contested Chairman of the KSA Board Interim Committee, which attempted to undermine Al-Musallam’s legitimacy to sit on the Bureau, Marculescu replied: “As to KSA’s recognized leadership, the internal changes which might have occurred in Kuwait during the suspension are irrelevant for FINA, inasmuch as they affect a suspended federation. FINA has clearly confirmed through its uncontested letter of February 22nd, 2017, that the recognized Officials are H.E. Sheik Khaled Al Bader M Al Sabah as President of the KSA and Mr Husain Al Musallam as General Secretary of the KSA. Therefore, Mr Homoud Obaid Al-Hajiri is not qualified as an authorized representative of the KSA, and the KSA itself may not participate in the Congress.”
The KSA claims allowing Al-Musallam to retain his seat on the FINA Bureau and to run for re-election as FINA First Vice President infringes upon the “sovereignty” of Kuwait and the KSA to choose its own delegate and demonstrates preferential treatment. Marculescu, meanwhile, encourages FINA members to disregard the complaints entirely.
FINA will vote this weekend whether or not to keep Al-Musallam as FINA First Vice President, and will also decide to either reaffirm 81-year-old Julio Maglione of Uruguay as FINA President for another four-year term, or elect Italian challenger Paolo Barelli, who believes FINA needs to become more transparent and athlete-focused.