European Swimming Federation President Paolo Barelli was unsuccessful in his bid for the FINA presidency this summer, but is continuing to fight the international swimming federation over issues he raised during his campaign.
Barelli was roundly critical of his opponent, now-three-term president Julio Maglione, during the election, bringing up allegations of corruption and manipulation.
Barelli, who remains the president of the European federation (LEN) and the Italian swimming federation (FIN), recently published a letter critical of FINA’s appointments to various committees, particularly taking issue with appointments on behalf of LEN that he says were made “directly and exclusively by FINA including persons employed within FINA itself.”
You can read Barelli’s full letter here, on the LEN website. He notes that he has previously raised the same concerns in a late-July letter. Barelli makes the case for the European federation’s importance to FINA based on medal-winner and finalist counts from the 2017 World Championships, pointing out that Europe was home to 46.1% of total medalists and 49.1% of total finalists in Budapest, and that 58.8% of medal-winning federations are a part of the European umbrella federation.
Barelli’s main fight with FINA has been over what he considers conflicts of interest and ethical breaches within the international swimming federation. He brought a case against FINA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for several different issues over the summer, but the case was ultimately dismissed. Barelli’s latest criticism of the federation follows similar lines, alleging that FINA is unilaterally appointing its own employees to represent the European federation, rather than letting LEN select its own appointees.
Barelli ends his letter by officially relinquishing the appointments on behalf of the Italian Swimming Federation. There are 6 Italians appointed to various committees, including Barelli himself for the Development Committee. Barelli is currently listed on that committee with three other officials with whom he’s tangled legally – Dale Neuberger from the United States, Husain Al-Musalam of Kuwait and Sam Ramsamy of South Africa were all accused of conflicts of interest, ethics violations or political manipulation in Barelli’s case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
You can find all of the committee appointments here.