The Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA) has released a new letter regarding its candidate on the FINA Bureau, Husain Al-Musallam.
Until SwimSwam started covering the upcoming FINA elections, you may not have had any idea who Husain Al-Musallam was.
If you’re a soccer fan–or football, depending where in the world you’re reading–then possibly you heard about the high-ranking FINA member that is reportedly under investigation by the United Stated Department of Justice for his alleged participation in a FIFA bribery ring. Well, turns out it’s the same guy, Husain Al-Musallam.
There’s been quite a bit of back-and-forth on the qualifications of Al-Musallam to sit on the FINA Bureau. At present, Al-Musallam holds the second-highest position within the organization: First Vice President.
A number of interested parties would like to see Al-Musallam removed from the FINA Bureau, but for every critic there’s an apologist. Last week SwimSwam published a letter from the Asian Swimming Association (AASF) which defended Al-Musallam’s position within FINA. Paolo Barelli, candidate for the FINA Presidency and the only challenger to 81-year-old incumbent Julio Maglione, weighed in on the AASF letter, questioning its origin and author’s motives. Days later Sr. Vice President of the AASF Virendra Nanavati fired back at Barelli.
The Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA) has petitioned the AASF and FINA for Al-Musallam’s removal from the Bureau, noting Al-Musallam is a delegate from Kuwait, a federation that is suspended by both the IOC and FINA. By allowing Al-Musallam to retain his position on the FINA Bureau, the KSA says, FINA is giving Al-Musallam preferential treatment and violating its own constitution, and the sovereignty of Kuwait Swimming to nominate its own Bureau members. The AASF, in turn, claims the KSA has no authority to petition FINA or the AASF, asserting:
- “…the Kuwait Swimming Association was put under protection suspension by FINA to protect the Aquatic Sports in Kuwait from third party interference.”
- “The letter of 3rd July has been sent by the non-existing and unrecognized body which call themselves the Interim Committee of Kuwait Swimming Association and is the product of the law conflicting with the FINA/AASF Constitution.”
- “…the current representative of Kuwait Swimming Association, namely Mr. Husain Al Musallam, is authorized to maintain or to be elected for positions in FINA bodies and in continental organizations.”
The KSA’s most recent response can be found here. Key points from the KSA response include:
- “The Suspension was implemented on 28 October 2015. Mr Al Musallam’s capacity as KSA Board member, and / or any capacity he held as a result of his affiliation to the KSA, was also suspended. This was expressly stated in the Suspension document issued by FINA. The Suspension had been in place for over 4 months prior to the KSA’s attempted nomination…”
- “…the KSA Board was free to withdraw the nomination of Mr Al Musallam to the AASF (as it was its constitutional prerogative to do so) and did so on the basis that Mr Al Musallam was no longer a KSA Board member and he no longer had the support of the KSA.”
Interestingly, the KSA does not impugn Al-Musallam for any ethical misconduct; rather, the KSA is displeased with the “procedural irregularity” surrounding his continued presence on the Bureau:
- “The legitimacy of Mr Al Musallam’s candidacy and nomination for positions within the AASF and FINA is not a matter of ethics (in the context of the FINA, AASF and KSA Constitutions). The KSA understands that there have been reports in the press detailing allegations of Mr Al Musallam’s implication in potentially unethical activities and presumably this is why the FINA Ethics Panel has assessed the legitimacy of Mr Al Musallam’s candidacy and nomination in this context.”
- “However, the KSA’s Complaint submits to FINA that both it and the AASF have breached the FINA and AASF Constitutions by allowing Mr Al Musallam to participate in FINA and AASF activities in clear contravention of the Suspension and in direct discrimination to the KSA and its members and athletes. This is not a matter of ethics as far as Mr Al Musallam’s conduct is concerned. What the FINA Ethics Panel thinks of Mr Al Musallam’s alleged unethical activities in the context of his candidacy and nomination is of no concern to the KSA in the context of the KSA’s Complaint.”
- “The KSA’s Complaint highlights serious procedural irregularity, which presents numerous breaches of the FINA and AASF constitutions, and impacts to the direct detriment and discrimination of other KSA members and athletes in the context of the Suspension. The KSA’s Complaint highlights serious constitutional flaws which must be addressed at the highest level of FINA.”
The KSA ends the letter requesting FINA “take the constitutionally and morally appropriate course of action,” and the KSA “looks forward to receiving FINA’s response to this letter (and the KSA’s Complaint) by the deadline set of 17 July 2017.” (Emphasis by KSA.)