British world and Olympic champion breaststroker Adam Peaty took a bold shot at the international swimming federation, telling BBC Sport that FINA knows it can’t ban its athletes without losing support.
“I don’t care, ban me if you’ve got to,” Peaty said in the BBC report, which you can read here. “I’m not bothered because at the end of the day they know they can’t.
“They can’t get away with it because you’ll lose all of the respect from the athletes and you can’t bully them.”
Peaty’s pointed comments came after the ISL Summit, a meeting between athletes and organizers of the International Swimming League (ISL), which wants to organize a series of swim meets, but has had conflicts with FINA in getting the meets approved.
Peaty also commented on FINA’s launching of the Champions Swim Series, considered by some to be a response to the ISL format. Peaty called the decision “embarrassing and offensive.”
“£4m in prize money is nothing in terms of what they’ll make off that league – they’ll make much more,” he said in the BBC report. “We need transparency and 50-50 split of the profits.
“I love my sport to the moon and back but the main reason people quit swimming all over the world is because there isn’t enough funding.
“I want to secure the future for the kids who are going to be winning Olympics in 20 years and hopefully making a living out of it.”
Australian coach Jacco Verhaeren also made waves this week, calling the new FINA series an “ad hoc” event and a “random” addition to the yearly meet schedule. “Most athletes and coaches have locked their plans in all the way to the Tokyo Olympics,” he said to The Australian.
The day after Peaty’s statements, FINA sent out a press release denying it had threatened bans for athletes, though SwimSwam was told that in an Oct. 30 email, FINA specifically referenced one of its general rules calling for bans of 1-to-2 years for FINA members who have relationships with a “non-affiliated body,” while making clear the ISL and the loosely-connected Energy for Swim 2018 event was not authorized.