Janet Evans Revokes FINA Nomination; Dale Neuburger Expected to Seek Presidency

Olympian Janet Evans has pulled her name from the pool nominated to represent the Americas on the FINA Bureau, she confirmed to SwimSwam in June, and current representative Dale Neuburger is expected to seek the FINA presidency, multiple sources say.

Neuburger has served on the USA Swimming Board of Directors since 1990, and has held his current FINA role as a vice president since 2000. In USA Swimming’s Board of Directors meeting notes from February 2018, it was revealed that he was expected to retire in 2021.

Evans was nominated by USA Swimming in June 2018 to represent the Americas on the FINA Bureau, with her expected term running 2021-2015. In May, she was nominated to specifically serve in the position of treasurer. She had the backing of the necessary organizations to pursue the position, but Neuburger’s plans appear to have disrupted her own.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my nomination for a FINA Bureau position,” Evans told SwimSwam in a statement. “I would like to thank those from the aquatics community who offered me their support, and I look forward to continuing to support aquatic sports in America and around the world.”

Both FINA and USA Swimming did not respond to requests for comment on the situation. Neuburger said in June he was too busy to speak on the matter.

“When the present occupant of that post [Neuburger] announced he would not seek reelection, it was, I think, an occasion for a fresh, clean start for the United States in the FINA ranks,” American Swimming Coaches Association CEO John Leonard, a noted FINA critic, said. “Coaches had considerable enthusiasm on the idea of Janet filling that post, because I think coaches all over the United States understand that Janet has always been very forthright about supporting athletes and making sure that A) athletes voices were heard and B) that there were significant financial opportunities for professional athletes, and C) that below the professional athlete ranks, the sport should be run for the benefit of the athletes.”

Coaches across the nation supported Evans with “rare and unanimous enthusiasm and excitement,” Leonard added.

Neuburger was the target of conflict of interest allegations in 2017 during FINA’s last presidential election, which resulted in another term for now 83-year-old Julio Maglione. Challenger Paolo Barelli contended that Neuburger’s work with TSE Consulting constituted a conflict of interest with his position in FINAthough the Court of Arbitration for Sport ultimately dismissed Barelli’s case.

Neuburger initially pledged publicly to be highly supportive of Evans’ candidacy, Leonard said. However, recent changes to FINA‘s financial landscape have opened up Neuburger’s potential path to the presidency.

Until recently, it was expected that FINA‘s current First Vice President Husain Al Musallam, also secretary general of the recently unsuspended Kuwait Olympic Committee would gain power with the financial backing of Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait, to whom he is a longtime aide.

Sheikh Ahmad has been president of the Olympic Council of Asia since 1991 and has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1992 – he’s a close ally of IOC President Thomas Bach –but stepped away from the IOC late last year after being indicted on charges of forgery in Geneva, Switzerland, limiting his power within FINA. Shiekh Ahmad also reportedly opted not to seek re-election to his role as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees at Bach’s request, but maintains his innocence in the investigation.

He is separately being investigated by the Olympic ethics panel on allegations of bribery relating to international soccer relations – specifically, payments from the Olympic Council of Asia to “win influence with soccer officials” – the Associated Press reported (clear here to learn more).

George Block, president of the World Swimming Coaches Associated and former USA Swimming vice president, told SwimSwam that he, too, now expects Neuburger is pursuing the FINA presidency.

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2 years ago

That’s a real shame.

2 years ago

Insert expletive filled rant here. This website is really torturing me this week

2 years ago

The swamp ain’t draining

2 years ago

How is this even possible? Doesn’t Neuburger understand how much the swimming world hates him? Either work for TSE or FINA, not both. This is a horrible conflict of interest. Neuburger is trying to protect his financial interests, not the athletes and sport. USA Swimming needs to disqualify this guy. Neuburger needs to resign immediately from FINA. FINA has some significant problems and Neuburger only makes them worse.

Steve Schaffer
Reply to  Scribble
2 years ago

So TSE will have Neuberger as head of FINA and Roush as Head of ASCA? Hmmm.

Reply to  Scribble
2 years ago

i’ll add that it makes those in charge of USA Swimming look incompetent that they cannot see that this is a breach of such a basic business concept. Show some leadership for once!!

2 years ago

Maybe finally all the buried bodies of Dale Neuberger rise in USA swimming will be exposed and SOMEONE within this “new” board and leadership will actually take a stand for something this is clearly wrong and corrupt. Janet is a wonderful, honest and brilliant voice in our sport and USAS and the aquatic world are the ones who suffer again at the hands of corruption that won’t be stopped. USAS doesn’t have to do much to bring this man down. They just have to put their money where their mouth is. Enough is enough.

2 years ago

I am new to all of this… Can someone explain, besides the obvious conflict of FINA and TSE, what else has Neuburger done to cause such an unfavorable opinion of him?

Reply to  Guest
2 years ago

Nothing but help preserve the status quo at FINA – and that’s the problem. $$$/Perks for the big wigs, pennies for the athletes.

Reply to  Guest
2 years ago

Before every USAS Board member a conflict of interest statement was read. Never saw Dale recuse himself on anything.

Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

This is part of the reason why the stench has never gone away from FINA< despite their high $$ Champions Series (their hand was forced by ISL).

2 years ago

Janet (and rightfully so) didn’t want any association with the dumpster fire that would be a Neuburger-led FINA. Maybe she can get into ISL leadership and help drive the stake into FINA once and for all.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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