Governance Review Rates FINA Among World’s Worst Summer Olympic Federations

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) has released its Third Review of International Federation Governance. That review rated FINA, the international governing body for 5 Olympic aquatic sports, among the worst.

FINA oversees most of the world’s competition in swimming, diving, water polo, open water swimming, artistic (synchronized) swimming, and high diving. The report rated FINA as a “C,” which is the lowest rating handed out. Out of 27 full members that responded, only FINA, the International Judo Federation (IJF), and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) received this score, which was below the target threshold that the ASOIF hoped all federations would hit. The scoring was done out of a possible 200 points.

FINA’s lagging comes in spite of it being one of the larger federations to participate in the survey. The result is especially significant as it is via a self-reporting survey, and further is conducted by an organization of which FINA is a member – as compared to an opposition group.

The review considered 50 measurable indicators in 5 categories: Transparency, Integrity, Democracy, Development, and Control Mechanisms.

The review looked at 31 federations and was based on self-assessment questionnaires conducted between November 2019 and January 2020. An independent sport governance consultancy, I Trust Sport, reviewed the responses and scored them. Of those 31 federations, 27 are full members of the ASOIF, while 4 are associate members.

The 4 associate members represent new summer Olympic sports.

This is the first time that the performance of each International Federation has been made public, though specifics about how each federation scored in each area has not been.

Overall, the ASOIF says that “nearly all” of the international federations showed improvement since the last survey conducted in 2017-2018. The highlight of the report was transparency measures, which is based largely on federations publishing externally audited financial statements (which FINA does).

In 2017, FINA did vote to impose a 3-term limit on the role of president and Bureau members, but that came after 2015 when they voted to remove the existing 2-term limit when the current president, Julio Maglione, hit the limit, showing that the organization is apt to change those rules when it needs to. Time served before 2015 is disregarded in relation to term limits.

Among the lagging scores was one related to term limits. Specifically, as many as 9 International Federations have no term limits for elected officials. Data showed that federations with no term limits demonstrated higher average scores overall.

The ASOIF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1983. FINA president Julio Maglione is a bureau member of the ASOIF, though aquatic sports is not represented on the ASOIF council.

ASOIF Federation Ratings

Group A1 (Scored 170 to 187 out of a possible 200 points)

  • BWF (Badminton)
  • FEI (Equestrian)
  • FIFA (Soccer/Football)
  • ITF (Tennis)
  • UCI (Cycling)
  • World Rugby

Group A2 (Scored 140 to 158 out of a possible 200 points)

  • FIBA (basketball)
  • FIE (fencing)
  • ITTF (table tennis)
  • ITU (Triathlon)
  • UWW (Wrestling)
  • World Athletics
  • World Sailing
  • WT (Taekwondo)

Group B (Scored 120 to 137 out of a possible 200 points)

  • FIG (Acrobatic gymnastics)
  • FIH (Field hockey)
  • FISA (Rowing)
  • FIVB (Volleyball)
  • ICF (Canoe)
  • IFSC* (Sport Climbing)
  • IGF (Golf)
  • IHF (Handball)
  • ISSF (Sport shooting)
  • UIPM (Modern pentathlon)
  • World Archery

Group C (Scored 84 to 119 out of a possible 200 points)

  • FINA (Aquatic sport)
  • IJF (Judo)
  • ISA* (Surfing)
  • IWF (Weightlifting)
  • WBSC* (Baseball/Softball)
  • World Skate*

* – Associate members.

Note: Karate did not participate, while the International Boxing Association was not included because of “major organizational changes in process during the period of assessment,” which includes the International Olympic Committee taking over much of its operations.

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2 years ago

Hardly surprising. The source of the problem is FINA’s constitution. Look at the FINA bureau(effectively the board of directors) and it is almost entirely made up of officials from countries with virtually a zero presence in world swimming. An unrepresentative body is hardly going to be accountable.

2 years ago

I don’t think they rated FINA a “C” but just placed them in Group C. Their score was between 84 and 119 out of 200 which is between 42 and 59%. If that’s a C then I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my grades.

2 years ago

Yeah…we all get it and I’m not even disappointed

2 years ago

An “A” for FIFA? Maybe the FBI should also help FINA.

2 years ago

Hmm… reminds me of the ineptitude of USA Swimming governance.

2 years ago

How the heck did FIFA score in the highest bracket. I understand FINA scoring low, but FIFA is shocking

Reply to  PVSFree
2 years ago

FIFA bribed its way into the highest bracket.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  PVSFree
2 years ago

The two surprises to me were FIFA high and modern pentathlon low. How can modern pentathlon be incompetent or crooked? Well, it does include swimming.

2 years ago


2 years ago

Not surprising.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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