ISL Athletes Mull Boycotts Over Continued League Non-Payments

The Sydney Morning Herald reported overnight that International Swimming League teams and athletes are mulling a boycott of the league’s upcoming playoff round that is set to begin on November 11 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. At issue is the lack of payment for athletes, staff, and contractors.

Rob Woodhouse, the general manager of the London Roar team that includes the lion’s share of Australians in the league, expressed his frustration to the SMH.

“It’s not good enough. I’m really hoping all athletes are paid in full from last season before the playoffs commence on November 11,” Woodhouse said.

While some swimmers have told SwimSwam that they were paid in full for the 2021 season, others have said that they have been continually promised timelines for full payments that weren’t met. Others couldn’t even figure out if they had been paid in full, because of the chaotic and disorganized nature of the payments that have repeatedly failed to adhere to provided schedules.

One non-athlete league source said that their payments for this season have been on time, and in advance, but others have said that they have not been paid.

Many of the league’s athletes are currently competing at the World Cup, organized by league-rival FINA, where payments have been quick and consistent.

This is the latest in a long run of accusations of non-payment by the league (see here, here, and here). To this point, the league has brushed aside these complaints and replaced the individuals or contractors who have lodged them the following season.

While it’s not clear if this is a formal athletes’ association action, the non-payments have been a hot topic in the athletes’ association WhatsApp group, though none wished to speak publicly on the topic. This growing discontentment does highlight the inevitable awkwardness of a conflict between talent and management when management has funded and organized the talent’s union.

The league’s management holds and appoints at least 4 out of 10 seats on the athletes’ association’s board of directors.

The Sydney Morning Herald article brought up vague claims of certain teams or athletes mulling a boycott, and athletes that SwimSwam spoke with on Saturday were similarly vague. None wanted to formally declare discussions of a boycott, but none totally dispelled that possibility either.

American Beata Nelson leads all swimmers with $64,150 earned so far in the ISL 2021 season.

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Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

What a sh*t show.

BoyPepperoni
1 month ago

No suprise here

Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

Crazy to think a sanctioned Russian oligarch wouldn’t be financially trustworthy

whever
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

He’s Ukrainian.

Xman
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

East or West?

Alexander
Reply to  Xman
1 month ago

East

Last edited 1 month ago by Alexander
Xman
Reply to  Alexander
1 month ago

He’s Russian…

Last edited 1 month ago by Xman
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

He was born there, but didn’t get citizenship until 2016. Pretty much a Russki.

Cate
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

As trustworthy as the knowledge in this comment?

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

-Even getting to the “mulling” stage means it’s heading somewhere pretty untenable.

-I was SET to get all “byah!!! solidarity!!!” in here, but:

This growing discontentment does highlight the inevitable awkwardness of a conflict between talent and management when management has funded and organized the talent’s union.

…goddammit.

-That some sources are claiming being paid in full and on time, while others are partial and late is also very confusing. Without knowing who is in what bucket, my assumption is it’s some cynical ploy to keep the most influential people and vendors happy and supportive, while blowing off those they think they can get away with blowing off.

Either way, pay everybody.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Nolan
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Just read as per the SMH seems like they didn’t pay venues in the UK and Hungary, so maybe it’s not that.)

Tyson
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I heard something about Hungry is refusing to hold the league until athletes are fully paid and there’s another reason I can’t remember

Let’s Go Brandon!
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Hey SwimSwammers! Are you curious about what music Steve Nolan listens to when he writes his comments? Here’s the “Steve Nolan Theme Song”!

https://youtu.be/kWVFEVWJMz8

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Let’s Go Brandon!
1 month ago

I’ve got $20 on you being the same person as “Old Retired Guy.”

Also, this is in my top 5 from the first season of ITYSL, so not that far off tbh.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Nolan
Let’s Go Brandon!
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

@SteveNolan. Ha! Neither old nor retired! But you knew me once as your cousin Nola Stevens, among others! And I’m glad you enjoyed the “FotoPlayer” clown show music! A true gem. Enjoy your weekend! (Actually, I’m old enough to have been on deck a few times with the amazingly intense Mark Schubert when he was in his prime.)

Old Retired Guy
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Nope. Not me. Though, like I said earlier: I. See. You.
So, give that other person the $20. Your symptoms are showing their fruits. Regardless, swim fast. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of swimming fast, you know…

Bossanova
Reply to  Let’s Go Brandon!
1 month ago

It’s hilarious to me how hard Republicans are trying to make “let’s go Brandon” into a thing lmao

Daeleb Creseel
1 month ago

if they don’t pay, can athletes sue?

Swimmer Steve
Reply to  Daeleb Creseel
1 month ago

Sure, but that would require the ISL to have money to get from a lawsuit. They’re really jsut not financially viable yet and are still struggling trying to get to that point.

Tyson
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

And it sucks that ISL can hold that against the athletes. It felt like in season one they were listening to the athletes and coaches concerns and what they wanted out of the league but now their doing whatever they want with it because they can and the athletes and coaches have lost their voice in the matter.

moddiddle
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

The love the idea of what it could be, but they’re afraid of losing what it is and going back to what they had before, so they’re only willing to do so much to push it into its full glory.

I remember like it was 2018 when we were all cheering for ISL’s success because it seemed to be anti-FINA in every way. Sucks that these 2 seem to be the only options available

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 month ago

This is getting ugly.

Juggernaut
Reply to  Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 month ago

That’s what she said

Braden any inside infos ?
1 month ago

Quick question: When will USA Swimming announce their roster for short course Worlds ?

Breezeway
Reply to  Braden any inside infos ?
1 month ago

They’re scrambling trying to makeup an excuse for their crappy selection process for SC Worlds before they release it and screw over the best SCM US swimmers

Tony
Reply to  Braden any inside infos ?
1 month ago

As long as Caeleb plans on going, I’ll be happy.

Greg Peter
1 month ago

No wonder Peaty would rather dance than compete in ISL

Sub13
Reply to  Greg Peter
1 month ago

Also, he’s almost certainly getting paid more than $65k to dance, so he’s pretty much guaranteed more money that he will definitely get paid and isn’t dependent on performance

Katy J
Reply to  Greg Peter
1 month ago

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/celebs-tv/how-much-strictly-come-dancing-6052480

I think he’d earn more on ISL, assuming he were paid.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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