FINA Reform Group Hands Over Plan To Build ‘Athlete-Serving, Sustainable & Stronger Organisation’
Two days of FINA Reform Committee meetings concluded with former World champion and now athletes’ representative Britta Kamrau declaring: “After months of study, the Reform Committee has done a great service to FINA by laying out the path towards the reforms. Now FINA must implement these sustainable changes and build a stronger organisation for the future to better serve its athletes.”
The path is set: a series of review and reform recommendations, believed to include the creation of an Independent Integrity Unit that will take anti-doping, dispute resolution and whistleblowing procedures under its wing and out of the political realm at FINA will be handed over to Husain Al-Musallam, who was elected president of the international federation on June 5 this year.
Al-Musallam has promised a “complete cultural shift” in the way FINA conducts its business after decades of governance marked by a lack of transparency, questionable practices, conflicts of interest and a series of headline-worthy controversies in which athletes and their welfare fell well shy of being the priority of the federation serving as their guardians and stewards.
The ruling FINA Bureau will now consider the recommendations and then announce a package of reform measures during the World Short-Course Championships in Abu Dhabi in December. That will mark only the first phase of more review and reform to come in stages on the way to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Of late, FINA’s new management dismissed several key staff at the federation’s headquarters in Lausanne, moves that left observers wondering whether reform meant, as one senior figure put it, “sacking the mail-room folk while those responsible for corporate failure continue to sit at the top table in the boardroom”.
Al-Musallam has committed to a “cultural shift” that would apply “to everyone“, regardless of their position or role at FINA and its members, which include the 209 national federations affiliated to FINA, the majority of which backed the Kuwaiti’s reform agenda in the run-up to the June elections.
Today in Lausanne, FINA issues the following statement at the conclusion of meetings of the main Reform Committee at the helm of six reform groups that have spent several months considering specific aspects of FINA governance:
FINA Reform Committee report endorses key strategic recommendations
The FINA Reform Committee today finalised their discussions on a series of strategic recommendations, which have been developed to modernise FINA, the world governing body for aquatic sports, and take its six disciplines into a new era.
The Reform Committee, announced by FINA President Captain Husain Al-Musallam on his election day, 5 June, was formed to assess potential changes to FINA and provide strategic recommendations on a variety of areas including governance, communication, marketing, gender equity, events, athlete safeguarding, sport medicine and sport development.
The Reform Committee, chaired by Me. Francois Carrard, presented the outcome of months of hard work from the various sub-Committees at the FINA Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) over a two-day meeting on October 4-5. During the meeting, different areas were discussed and major measures to be implemented were identified. The whole business model of FINA has been broken down and concrete recommendations were proposed following the conclusion of the extensive assessment.
“Today marks an important milestone for FINA towards the reinforcement of its commitment to authenticity, transparency and reform. The Reform Committee reached a consensus on several key measures to be adopted as part of the change led by FINA President Al-Musallam,” said Francois Carrard. “The recommendations will be presented by the Reform Committee at the upcoming FINA Congress. They will enhance the current business model of FINA and lead to a more contemporary and transparent governing body.”
To conclude the productive meeting in Lausanne, Reform Committee member, former World champion and athletes representative Britta Kamrau said: “After months of study, the Reform Committee has done a great service to FINA by laying out the path towards the reforms. Now FINA must implement these sustainable changes and build a stronger organisation for the future to better serve its athletes.”
The outcome of the meeting with suggested areas of reform will be presented to the FINA members on the occasion of the FINA World Swimming Championship (25m) and the Aquatics Festival in Abu Dhabi (UAE) from December 16-21.