The Italian Swimming Federation has decided to abscond from their hosting duties of the 2014 World Championships, according to a press release (translated below by Google) on the Federation’s website.
This is the first major victim of the new Italian political regime that took over this past weekend after former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign in a debt crisis that dwarfs the one seen in the United States. Italy has a National Debt of roughly $2.2 trillion, and that huge mountain (compared to a GDP of right around $2 trillion) means that the financial downturn has been disastrous.
In stepped Mario Monti as the new head-man of the country. Monti has very little in the way of a political background, but is a huge force economically. He has vowed to make tough cuts in the country and seems to have no fear of a political backlash.
With an economist in charge of a failing economic system, it’s no surprise that this event was cut. Short Course World Championship meets don’t pull in nearly the same revenue as do long course, and you will recall that in 2010, the Dubai aquatics center was about half-empty throughout most of the meet. Countries are hard-pressed to turn a direct profit off of the event, and Italy is not in a position to view swimming as an “investment” in the country’s future financial well-being.
This is especially true given Italy’s history of “under the table” dealings. One of the major problems in the economy is that over a quarter of the business in Italy is done off-book, and at an event like this, that number would surely be much larger. This means that the government would be in for a serious losing proposition by investing in the event.
In the original rounds, Catania, Italy was the only country that bid on the event. Cancun showed some interest, but ultimately backed out. The meet will likely now turn to an established nation that already has every piece of infrastructure needed to host a meet like this. This is an opportunity for the big players to get back into the hosting game. With the need to rush in organization, countries like the United States and Australia could afford to host the meet without having to build an expensive new facility – perhaps take the meet back to Indianapolis or to the huge new center in Adelaide, Australia.
As of post time, FINA had still not made any alterations to their site and still lists Italy as the hosts of the 2014 meet. Istanbul, Turkey will host in 2012.
Swimming: World Cup short course in 2014. Failure to formalize the commitments of the Sicilian Region.
The Federation Internationale de Natation and the Italian Swimming Federation have not received the formalization of commitments made by the Sicilian Region to carry out the organization concerning the application of the World Cup short course swimming in the 2014 in Catania. Therefore, the FIN has been forced to give up hosting the event. At the express request of the Sicilian Region, through the work the Councillor for Sport Hon Tranchida, in 2010 the Italian Swimming Federation has presented the application to organize the championships short course swimming championships in 2014 in Catania, which included a series of events approach to further promote the sport of high-level and water sports in the area. The Sicilian Region, supporting the application, had guaranteed, in addition to its direct interest, even coverage of the event and financial initiatives. Since then, the Italian Swimming Federation has met all the requirements of the Sicilian Region for the Federation Internationale de Natation the assignment of the event, which occurred December 14, 2010 during the World Cup being held indoors in Dubai. Subsequently, however, despite numerous reminders of FIN, and indirectly of FINA, the Sicilian Region has not responded to formal necessary and agreed guaranteed, making it impossible to bring the event. Therefore, the FIN has not been able to give up, leaving the possibility of assigning the FINA World Cup short course swimming in the 2014 to the city you deem worthy.
Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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.
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