Report Confirms Fukuoka Worlds Moved To 2023; Hosts and FINA Face a Stalemate

The postponement of the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships to 2023 has been confirmed, per Russian Swimming Federation President and FINA Bureau member Vladimir Salnikov.

Following the reports that came out on Friday, indicating the event would be pushed back one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salnikov confirmed the news to Russia’s official state news agency TASS.

“The FINA bureau met Friday and voted to postpone the World Championships to 2023 due to the pandemic and other issues related to organizing the arrival and accommodation of participants in the coronavirus environment,” Salnikov told TASS. “No alternative options for the World Championships were presented.”

The World Championships were scheduled for May 13-29, 2022.

The postponement is due to the stringent COVID-19 restrictions Japan has been putting in place in light of a recent surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant.

A source tells SwimSwam that Japanese officials and FINA are currently in a stalemate of sorts as they try to land on new official dates for the Championships. With official contracts having already been signed before the pandemic was a known hurdle. FINA is unable to move the location to a new host until something in the contract is triggered. Meanwhile, Japan hasn’t actually blocked the competition from being hosted, but has implemented onerous restrictions that have made it incredibly difficult to lock in new dates.

This has pushed FINA into a corner, where the restrictions would make it very difficult to host the event in Fukuoka in May 2022, but where the contract makes it very difficult to pull the hosting duties from Fukuoka and move the meet elsewhere.

The source says that the Olympic Games were politically challenging, and while they happened, the country used most of its political capital with its citizenry on that event. That doesn’t leave much will-power to host a World Championships amid the global surge in new cases caused by the highly-infections Omicron variant.

FINA has reportedly floated the idea of October 2022 and July 2023 as potential new dates to national federations, but according to Salnikov, 2022 is no longer in the cards. Other sources have indicated that the FINA focus right now is on 2023.

While logistically a meet could probably be organized somewhere new in four months, especially somewhere that has recently hosted, finding a host city that is willing to make the financial commitment – the primary economic driver of most FINA-hosted meets – on short notice is substantially more difficult.

The initial report on Friday, first reported by Swim Channel‘s Alex Pussieldi, did indicate that July 2023 would be the new date, which Salnikov confirms. Several other federations have previously confirmed the news to SwimSwam, but only as anonymous sources.

As a result, the previously-scheduled Worlds for November 2023 in Doha, Qatar were expected to be moved to January 2024, though that hasn’t been confirmed and wasn’t addressed by Salnikov.

According to Inside The Games, FINA is expected to announce an alternative event “to offer competitors the opportunity to compete at a high level,” in the coming days. The majority of top swimming nations will have the opportunity to race in an international meet in 2022, such as the European Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, but others, including the United States, don’t.

Japan currently has a seven-day rolling average of over 40,000 new daily cases of COVID-19, or 33 per 100,000 people, the highest since the pandemic started. On January 22, the nation reported an all-time high of 54,000+ new cases, or nearly 43 per 100,00 people.

The World Championships in Fukuoka were originally scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021, but were moved back to May 2022 due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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nancy
8 months ago

Was there a discussion or vote on the FINA World Masters Swimming Championships that are scheduled for the two weeks after the elite FINA worlds?

Admin
Reply to  nancy
8 months ago

If the World Championships go, the Masters World Championships will also good.

In terms of tourist revenue for the host nation, Masters Worlds are arguably as important, if not more important, than the regular Worlds.

Holden Caufield
8 months ago

Phelps is fortunate to have gotten out when he did.

Most of you have mentally placed asterisks next to the rubber-suited WRs set in 2009.

All of the truly great swimmers of this era (Dressel, Ledecky, etc.) should have the opposite of an asterisk placed next to their accomplishments for having the extra burden of navigating the weirdness (poor governing body leadership, etc.) of this era.

Last edited 8 months ago by Holden Caufield
Admin
8 months ago

WUGs is not a FINA controlled meet and involves a lot of sports. There is no indication that WUGs is moving.

RCP
8 months ago

How does this affect the US International Team trials scheduled for April? Will they still be held at that time?

Admin
Reply to  RCP
8 months ago

We have no idea. Nobody else is going to make a move until FINA actually announces what they’re going to do. They’re leaving most of the swimming world hamstrung right now.

PAC-12 Fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 months ago

I have been checking both websites all day, but nothing…😢

PAC-12 Fan
Reply to  RCP
8 months ago

You’ll hear it first here, for sure!

Been checking their sites and you’ll find no updates at all. 😏

RCP
Reply to  PAC-12 Fan
8 months ago

Thanks.

Tony
8 months ago

Japan did the Olympics in 2021. It owes the globe a FINA WC in 2022. If not, let Florida or Indiana do it.

Troyy
Reply to  Tony
8 months ago

The only thing Japan owes the world is releasing FINA from the contract. The US on the other hand does owe the world a WCs for the first time. Time to stop freeloading on other countries hosting and do your bit.

Admin
Reply to  Troyy
8 months ago

I can’t figure out why Japan is fighting so hard to hold on to this meet.

Would love to see the contract and what they penalty could be. I wish the two sides could come to an amicable dissolution.

Troyy
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 months ago

Yeah, it’s all quite strange. Either they want to host or they should dissolve the contract and stop taking world swimming for a ride.

Mikeh
8 months ago

Pathetic. At some point we really must return to normal.

Verram
8 months ago

US swimmers can start planning their summer vacations – Cancun, Aruba, Antigua – tough choices !!

i was right kalisz would win
8 months ago

Nationals are going to be very fast and a bunch of US open records will fall

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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