LEN, the European governing body for aquatic sports, held an Extraordinary Congress meeting on May 14 in which the organization touched base on the progress made since electing a new President and LEN Bureau in February.
New President Antonio da Silva, who was elected on Feb. 5, set out a manifesto of four pillars he wanted to implement prior to being elected, and updated the steps taken in each aspect during his first 100 days in office.
The four pillars of da Silva’s presidential campaign were as follows:
- Integrity – Transparency and governance
- Our Sport – Making it accessible for all
- Aquatic Disciplines – learning and working together
- Sustainability – Making LEN fit for the future
“In my manifesto, there was an agenda for each of the four pillars” da Silva said. “We outlined what we wanted LEN to achieve in the first 100 days in office. Significant progress has already been made to achieve these ambitions, and progress will continue to be made and will be ongoing.”
da Silva added that five of his objectives for the first 100 days were achieved, with 16 more still in progress and three more due to start after the Congress.
One of the steps taken under the new administration stemmed from an audit done by the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA).
General Secretary Andida Bouma said that an independent integrity unit has been set up, an integrity hotline has been launched, and that new ethics, integrity and anti-doping policies are currently on the table.
Another step taken has been the development of the new Athletes’ Committee, which former British world champion Liam Tancock was named the Chair of last week. In conjunction with shaping the Athletes’ Committee, the Congress also approved granting athletes voting rights at the Congress.
OTHER LEN UPDATES
- The LEN Bureau announced that sub-committees have been created for education and coaching, a learn-to-swim-program, and that they are currently in talks with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on the governance transfer of para-swimming to LEN.
- Following an internal financial audit, Treasurer Tomas Kucinskas shared its findings and changes made to the annual budget were approved. It’s noteworthy that the LEN reports its financial situation is “healthy and sound,” but leadership plans to begin looking to strengthen the organization with more of a commercially-oriented focus in the future.
- Kucinskas said the following: “We propose creating a comprehensive commercial strategy that assesses the potential for LEN to increase its revenues. This will include a specific focus on generating significant revenues through host city relationships, sponsorship and broadcast rights sales.”
- Eurovision and LEN are looking to potentially develop LEN TV into a Netflix-like streaming platform, where aquatics content (including live events) would be available.
- The LEN has also launched a Soldiarty Program to help support Ukraine, similar to what FINA and the IOC have done. €100,000 has been contributed thus far.
The following members of LEN leadership were approved:
- LEN First Vice-President: Josip Varvodic
- LEN Vice-Presidents: Erkan Yalcin and Noam Zwi
- LEN Bureau Members: Sandor Wladar (HUN) and Arno Pajek (AUT)
- Chair of the Athletes’ Committee: Liam Tancock
The election of the new LEN Bureau in February came after a group of European federations, led by da Silva, united to give the former administration (led by former President Paolo Barelli) a vote of no confidence last September.