Athletes’ Committee To Be Elected By Athletes At Budapest Worlds Following FINA Reform Changes Backed By Chair Penny Heyns
The FINA Athletes’ Committee will no longer be an entirely in-house affair after the ruling Bureau of the global regulator agreed to change the system of electing members so that athletes can have a say in who represents them at the top table and in the decision-making process.
All candidates must be put forward for election by their national federations but the guidance asks those FINA members to let the Athlete Voice decide who should be nominated among athletes past and present.
It remains to be seen how federations spread the word and who they allow into the voting process, how and using what criteria, the athlete population fairly vast. The elections will take place in late June during the World Championships in Budapest.
It is not yet clear how the International Swimmers’ Alliance could play a role in the process when representing the independent Athlete Voice beyond the realm of national federations. The proof of how effective ‘athletes choosing athletes’ will be in the pudding to be baked in Budapest come June.
There are signs that integrity was taken into consideration as FINA reformers planned the changes. The candidature application form includes questions designed to inform the process if an athlete has tested positive for doping or committed any other violations in the rules and Codes of the sport.
“As the current FINA Athletes’ Committee Chair and long-time … committee Member, I am delighted that FINA will hold its very first democratic … elections in Budapest. During my tenure, I have seen the Committee grow from strength to strength, specifically the past two terms with the introduction of democratic elections as well as seven votes in Congress. I believe the new … committee will give athletes a greater voice, representative of the athletes’ voice, with the majority of members being either active athletes or recently retired athletes.”Penny Heyns – Penny Heyns – courtesy of A-Speakers
The changes, which may be replicated for coaches and other areas of expertise, are part of a FINA reform process led by the organisation’s president Husain Al-Musallam. He said: “Today marks another exciting chapter in giving athletes a greater voice and influence on decisions within aquatics sport. Having athletes elected … by their fellow athletes marks a significant step forward for athlete empowerment within the aquatics community.”
The FINA Athletes’ Committee Statement In Full
The FINA Bureau met and approved a series of electoral milestones for the FINA Athletes’ Committee that will strengthen the athletes’ voice in aquatics sport.
The FINA Athletes’ Committee elections, set to be held during the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest (HUN), will see FINA have a democratically elected Athletes’ Committee, comprised of both active and recently retired athletes.
The FINA Athletes Committee will continue to be represented in all six disciplines, with a member appointed to each of the FINA Technical Committees (diving, high diving, open water, swimming, artistic swimming and water polo).
“Today marks another exciting chapter in giving athletes a greater voice and influence on decisions within aquatics sport,” FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said. “Having athletes elected to the FINA Athletes’ Committee by their fellow athletes marks a significant step forward for athlete empowerment within the aquatics community.”
Following the Bureau’s announcement, FINA calls on its Member Federations to submit candidate athletes by 21 March 2022.
The FINA Ethics Panel will review candidatures by 21 April 2022, with the voting period running during the event.
The FINA Bureau will meet during the 19th FINA World Championships to approve Appointed Athletes and Honorary Members, with the announcement made at the event’s conclusion.
The FINA Athletes’ Committee is currently chaired by Penny Heyns. The two-time Olympic swimming champion from South Africa strongly supported the changes to both the election procedures.
“As the current FINA Athletes’ Committee Chair and long-time FINA Athletes’ Committee Member, I am delighted that FINA will hold its very first democratic Athletes’ Committee elections in Budapest,” Heyns said. “During my tenure, I have seen the Committee grow from strength to strength, specifically the past two terms with the introduction of democratic elections as well as seven votes in Congress. I believe the new FINA Athletes’ Committee will give athletes a greater voice, representative of the athletes’ voice, with the majority of members being either active athletes or recently retired athletes.”
Heyns also highlighted today’s announcement as a key milestone to ensure that the voice of the athlete is represented at all decision-making levels.
“Furthermore, under the new leadership of President Husain Al-Musallam, the organisation has taken a very athlete-centric approach and I believe the voice of the athletes will be heard and respected more than ever.”