World Aquatics, National Aquatic Federations Deny Pressure to Remove Worlds from Qatar

World Aquatics and several national aquatics federations have denied reporting by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the country’s oldest daily newspaper, that European officials are pressuring the global governing body to move the 2024 World Aquatics Championships out of Doha, Qatar.

  • The 2024 World Aquatics Championships are scheduled in Doha, Qatar from February 2-18, 2024.

“World Aquatics is not facing any pressure to move the event in Doha and not a single country has contacted us in this respect,” Brent Nowicki, the chief executive of World Aquatics told SwimSwam via email.

In addition to the Slovak Swimming Federation (reported here), Marco Stachiotti, head of the Luxembourg swimming federation, and Jakub Tesárek, the president of Czech Aquatics, have also denied that their federations have had any conversations with World Aquatics about moving the event.

“Despite condemning all the violence currently happening in the region of Israel and hoping for a swift resolution to the conflict, none of the members of the Czech Aquatics Bureau have requested World Aquatics to relocate the World Championships from Qatar to another country,” Tesarek said. “The foreign policy falls within the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Czech Republic Governance.”

The original reporting, by Haaretz sports editor Ido Rakovsky, cites “senior European water sports personnel” and, separately, “Officials from Luxembourg, Czechia, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries.” The original report did not specify that the aquatics federations of those countries were creating the pressure, nor did it cite a source for the information, even in anonymous terms.

For the past decade, Qatar has provided asylum for Hamas leadership in Doha while also supporting the Palestinian group financially. That partnership is under the microscope again after a surprise attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 that left more than 1,300 Israelis dead, at least 32 U.S. citizens deceased, and about 200 people taken as hostages. Israel responded by declaring a war that has killed more than 5,000 Palestinians according to the United Nations, including more than 1,500 children, and displaced more than a million Gaza residents over the past two weeks.

Further reporting from SwimSwam’s Riley Overend.

Qatar, a wealthy nation with less than half a million citizens, is in a unique position as an ally of both Hamas and the U.S. military, which operates a command base not far from the swanky Doha hotels and villas hosting Hamas leaders. Last year, the U.S. declared Qatar a “Major Non-NATO Ally.”

Qatar was reportedly the lead negotiator in Friday’s release of two American hostages taken Oct. 7 and earned thanks from President Joe Biden. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 10 other Americans remain unaccounted for in the conflict.

Last week, World Aquatics moved the final stop of the Open Water World Cup Series from Eilat, Israel to Funchal, Portugal amid the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine. World Aquatics did not make a broader statement on the ongoing war, referring to the war as “recent occurrences in Israel.”

World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam is a native of Kuwait, where the government has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has blamed the Israelis for the war and sided with Palestine in the decades-long conflict. Al-Musallam is not a government official and the statements of the Kuwaiti government do not seem to have impacted World Aquatics’ stance on Israel in the past, awarding the country several high-profile events, including the recent World Junior Swimming Championships.

The 2024 World Championships next February are set to be the first edition ever held in the Middle East, but Doha has hosted the Short Course World Championships in 2014 as well as nine legs of the World Cup series between 2012 and 2021.

8
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

8 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Angello J Malefakis
1 month ago

Doha should not 🚫🚫🚫 be holding the championship period! This nation has given a home 🏠🏠🏠 and financial aid to terrorists who target 🎯🎯🎯 and kidnap children, mothers and 85 grandmothers. This is plainly ridiculous! Than we got this POS World Aquatics president from Kuwait who supports terrorists versus giving world record holders pennies on the dollar 💰💰💰. This again is ridiculous! The swimming world 🌎🌎🌎 is definitely sleeping with the enemy! Shame, shame, shame on turning a blind eye to the terrorist attack on 10)7/23.

FST
1 month ago

“World Aquatics is not facing any pressure to move the event in Doha and not a single country has contacted us in this respect”

But they should be contacting them and start putting pressure on WA.

TimO
Reply to  FST
1 month ago

Oh this will happen. Believe me! Qatar has ‘links’ to Hamas

BeardedSwammer
Reply to  FST
1 month ago

I think the simple fact is that the World Aquatics Championship just isn’t really on most politicians radar. Qatar is able to get away with a lot thanks the their massive natural gas deposits and of all the thinks to jeopardize that relationship over, Swimming?! It just isn’t happening, though in the long run I do think the geopolitical winds are going to have western countries significantly rethinking their relationship with the middle east.

Dr Ju
1 month ago

In regard to moving World Champs out of Qatar, Nowicki says “… not a single country has contacted us in this respect”. That may be the case but word on the street is that nations are contacting each other to express collective concern, and in the very real event the crisis grows, countries will start firmly requesting the event is moved.

CC33
Reply to  Dr Ju
1 month ago

Spot on!

Angello J Malefakis
Reply to  Dr Ju
1 month ago

They love 😘😘😘 sleeping with the enemy! The heads are corrupt! Swimming is the minor leagues in their respective country. Because they have the wrong people in charge of swimming

Blur
1 month ago

“Despite condemning all the violence currently happening in the region of Israel and hoping for a swift resolution to the conflict, none of the members of the Czech Aquatics Bureau have requested World Aquatics to relocate the World Championships from Qatar to another country,” Tesarek said. “The foreign policy falls within the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Czech Republic Governance.“
☝️we need more of this in sport

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »