LEN Leaders Capitulate – Suspension Of Croatia and Portugal Lifted & February Elections Confirmed
The Leadership of LEN, the European Swimming League, has been forced to perform a u-turn on its threat to suspend Croatia and Portugal in the row over a vote of no confidence that will now be put to the test at elections called for February 5 next year.
In a letter to FINA responding to the global regulators instruction to the European body to change direction in a dispute with members, LEN confirms that it will lift the suspensions and that elections will be held as demanded by the nations that won a vote of no confidence in the current European leadership at Congress in late September.
In its row with more than 20 nations that want to see the back of the current LEN leadership – led by Paolo Barelli of Italy and David Sparkes, the former British Swimming CEO, both of them members of the FINA Bureau – LEN bosses imposed whole-nation suspensions on Croatia and Portugal after officials from those countries erroneously used a LEN logo in correspondence representing the challengers, not LEN itself.
The decision to suspend nations, as opposed to any individuals who made a clumsy mistake, was poorly received in a swimming community that points to the Russian doping crisis and notes that LEN never imposed a suspension on that nation even when Russia as a nation found itself locked out of the Olympic Games.
The dispute at the heart of the schism rests in allegations of financial irregularity now being investigated by authorities in Switzerland and Italy.
After LEN imposed the suspensions, FINA intervened to say that it would not uphold the action against Croatia and Portugal. Now, LEN has responded to that move by rolling back on its threats and confirming that elections will be held next February: