Paolo Barelli “Wins CAS Case Against World Aquatics Ban & Is Back At The Helm Of Italian Swimming”

2024-01-24 1 comment Reading Time: 4 minutes
Paolo Barelli LEN president at the opening of the Nyon offices - Photo courtesy of Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Paolo Barelli has won “his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of Lausanne against the World Aquatics Federation and continues, with full title and right, to preside over the Italian Swimming Federation”, according to the domestic regulator in Italy.

World Aquatics had suspended Barelli for two years on the basis of an integrity probe that has yet to prove all the allegations made against the Italian senator. The global ruling extended to suspension as head of the Italian federation on grounds that all domestic federations are members of FINA/World Aquatics and subject to global rules, constitution and codes.

The news of the CAS decision, which had been pending for several months, was reported today by the Italian federation (FIN) on a day when the man who replaced him at the helm of LEN/European Aquatics, Antonio Silva, is facing a flood of questions on integrity grounds after a five-month integrity investigation by Portugal’s sports institute found against him in favour of a whistleblower.

The Silva Saga:

FPN Not A Monarchy Nor An Anarchy, Assembly Told In Latest Twists In Silva Saga

As European Leaders Try To Help Silva Survive Integrity Ruling Portuguese Board Asked To Step Down In Face Of Existential Threat

Silva To Be Stripped Of Domestic Swim Federation Crown After Portuguese Government Inquiry Finds Against Him In Favour Of Whistleblower

European Aquatics Decision To Avoid Integrity Check May End In Silva Losing Throne

European Aquatics Boss Silva About To Host Emergency Meeting After Ethics Complaint Against Him Sparks Inquiry In Portugal

And the tail-end rulings stage of the Barelli Saga Before It:

Barelli Turns To Swiss Federal Court After CAS Dismisses Appeal & Upholds World Aquatics Ban Over Conflict Of Interest

Paolo Barelli Banned By FINA For Two Years Over Huge Payments Related To Euro Champs Contracts Between LEN & Italian Federation

FINA Ethics Panel Suspends Italy Swim Boss Paolo Barelli Pending Outcome Of Inquiry Into Allegations of Financial Irregularities

New Era Begins At LEN As Barelli Bows Out & E4AA Group Take Reigns With Old Questions To Answer Ahead Of The Birth Of FINA Integrity Unit

And the red flag raised by SOS at the point of regime change:

Battle Of Barelli Vs Silva & The E4AA Reformers: Questions Of Integrity & Transparency Facing European Swimming Leaders

And … The FIN statement released today in Italian

A rough translation of the Italian federation text on the Barelli case

The following required material in square brackets to clarify what SOS assumes to be the case, on grounds that nothing else would make sense. We’ll come back to this text later and mark anything that requires further explanation (or even correction) at a time when the actual CAS decision is yet to be publishedEd

The CAS fully accepted the appeal presented by Paolo Barelli against the disqualification imposed by the Ethics Panel of World Aquatics (formerly FINA) for alleged administrative irregularities relating to when he held [the role of Vice-President and] secretary of FINA, a role completely unrelated [to the issues under investigation].

The CAS has defined every activity decided and authorized by the world federation itself as being totally legitimate.

The reasons given [for the decision] prove Paolo Barelli completely right and highlight his behaviour as completely correct and his position [at FIN] unrelated [to the LEN matters under inquiry].

As has already happened on previous occasions, due to the unfounded decision of the World Federation, it had suspended Paolo Barelli from the position of [FIN] president.

“Finally the CAS decision cancels all the accusations and suspicions which, triggered in Italy and abroad, have tried to tarnish my image as a sports manager and politician,” said Paolo Barelli.

[NB: As suggested four paragraphs down, that is not the full picture and there are more hurdles to overcome before the processes in train are complete – Ed].

“I have always had faith in the final outcome of justice, in sport or otherwise. I have always known the instrumentality of every accusation that alleged untrue facts. I am proud to be able to say that the Italian Swimming Federation, strongly influenced by these events, was able to carry forward the programs we had planned towards the Paris 2024 Olympics and to continue in the wonderful trail of successes … thanks to the athletes, to the technicians and the clubs, the entire Italian sports movement.

“Now the Paris Games are approaching and we will be able to dive into the competition again without further waste of energy necessary to defend myself from unfounded and defamatory accusations. However, I will not fail to prosecute those who have attacked me and the federation that I am honoured to preside over.”

As is known, both criminal and sports justice have already dismissed all the accusations made against the president Paolo Barelli with fully exculpatory devices and shared even by the CONI prosecutor’s office, in clear contrast with those complaints from the public body that they have produced since 2014 a series of speculations and exploitations with obvious consequences on the national and international sporting and political activity of Mr. Barelli.

The CAS has also already expressed its opinion on further charges formulated by the Ethics Panel of the World Federation against Paolo Barelli, legitimizing his continuation of the mandate [at FIN], and a number of them are being examined by the Swiss Federal Court, which will have to examine whether the sanctions of the World Federation itself constitute an abuse of rights.

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