Husain Al Musallam’s Bid for FINA President Supported by Kuwait’s Government

FINA First Vice President Husain Al Musallam of Kuwait stands as a front-runner to replace 84-year-old FINA President Julio Maglione, who has held the post since 2009. Al Musallam’s bid for FINA President is buoyed by his recent endorsement by the Government of Kuwait.

Kuwait’s National Olympic Committee is no stranger to controversy and sanctions. From October 27th, 2015, until July 5th, 2019, the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to laws passed by Kuwait’s government that allowed elected officials to meddle with or dissolve sports leagues or teams that it had ideological issues with. Though Kuwait remains a sovereign nation, such limitations and interference by the government go against the Olympic Charter and therefore warranted the KOC’s four-year ban, which resulted in Kuwaiti athletes competing under the neutral Olympic flag at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Through all of the controversy, and even against the wishes of Kuwait Swimming Association (KSA) itself, Al Musallam has held onto immense power in FINA as well as the Olympic Committee of Asia (OAC). In 2017, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu denounced the KSA and its request to remove Al Musallam from the FINA Bureau. Marculescu labeled the KSA a “group of persons or persons who are neither qualified nor recognized as having any authority to commit our suspended member.” The KSA, which was at the time suspended by FINA, had decided to elect new leadership and thereby request the removal of Al Musallam from all positions of international authority as one its representatives, and it is these decisions that Marculescu refused to validate in 2017.

Al Musallam was elected to First Vice President in 2017 despite lacking the approval of his own federation, owing to allegations of corruption including an investigation by the United States Department of Justice and a voice recording of Al Musallam demanding a commission of a FINA sponsorship.

In order to be elected for a third term as FINA President in 2017, Maglione, at the age of 79 in 2015, used his power to side-step FINA’s established rules and abolish the age limit that would have prevented him from seeking re-election to a third term in 2017. Maglione’s only substantial competition for the presidency in 2017 was Italy’s Paolo Barelli who was handily defeated at the FINA Convention in Budapest by a margin of 258-77.

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2 years ago

Endorsed by the Government of Kuwait. Until Kuwait lifts their ban on competing against Israel, teams and individuals, that includes Israeli athletes from participating in events hosted by Kuwait we cannot allow him to attain this position. It is frankly an embarrassment to the sport that he even holds the current position. Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and a host of other nations that continue to boycott any interaction with Israelis should be suspended until they agree to cease their racism and compete fairly. North and South Korea have had nukes pointed at each other for decades and have “hot” border. They figure it out when it comes to sports so can these nations.

Reply to  Zaq
2 years ago

Bravo: not what people want to hear but need to hear!

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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