World Aquatics Leaps From The Blocks As Reform Replaces FINA After 114 Years
World Aquatics is the new name of FINA, the global regulator for swimming, diving, synchro and water polo announced today as the latest step on the road to reform.
Name changes are a good way to mark a new start that sheds old culture and the failed governance of the past, as was the case when the IAAF became World Athletics.
The new name for the aquatics regulator was by far the most likely pick and is a huge improvement on a name that spoke to conventions for naming international sports organisations more than century ago. Many people in Europe unconnected with aquatics sports are more likely to think of a petrol station than a swim organisation when hearing FINA. Now, they’ll have a big clue: it’s about sports that take place in water.
As we stated in this editorial last weekend, its not just about a name change or the new website coming next July but a stepping stone in an entire reform process which has produced a raft of encouraging changes, improvements and measures worth celebrating, such as the stripping of honour from East German doping abuser Lothar Kipke. There’s a long voyage ahead and governance has not yet shed some of the old practices people and types of people who gave FINA a bad name.
Happy birthday World Aquatics, born in Melbourne, Australia, 114 years, three months and 23 days after FINA was founded at the Manchester Hotel in London on the eve of the 1908 Olympic Games in the British Capital.
The official statement from World Aquatics
Melbourne, 12 December 2022 – FINA, the Fédération Internationale de Natation, has today become World Aquatics following a vote at the Extraordinary General Congress on the eve of the World Swimming Championships (25m) 2022. Over its 114-year history, FINA and its 209 member federations have maintained responsibility for swimmers, artistic swimmers, divers, high divers, open water swimmers and water polo players.
The launch of the World Aquatics brand arrives after a series of major reforms that sees a modern organisation ready to lead and serve athletes united by water, with a broader scope and increased engagement with participants and audiences.
“Everyone in our community is proud of what FINA achieved in developing our sports. As we look to the future, World Aquatics will see all aquatics athletes united for the first time under one brand. The identity of our organisation now focuses on our shared vision: a world united by water, for health, life and sport,” said World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam.
World Aquatics – The Global Home of Aquatic Sports
The new identity for the global aquatics community came after a comprehensive canvassing of the sports’ key stakeholders.
“I will always tell you that our athletes must come first, so I would never make a big decision like this without consulting our athletes,” the World Aquatics President said. “Their response has been very clear. More than seventy percent of the athletes that we have spoken with have said that they would like us to change FINA’s name. Many of them could not even tell us what the letters in FINA stand for.”
The adoption of the World Aquatics name was confirmed by a vote of member federations at an Extraordinary Congress in Melbourne earlier today. It marks the culmination of 18 months of intensive organisational transformation, much of it guided by the FINA Reform Committee. During this process, World Aquatics has made very significant improvements to its governance, including the strengthening of the athletes’ voice in decision-making and the creation of an independent Aquatics Integrity Unit.
We Are …
“World Aquatics will continue to deliver and develop the rewarding competition calendar that has become the foundation of successful elite careers while being the subject of dreams and ambitions for millions of young aquatics athletes all around the globe,” continued Al-Musallam. “Our new vision and mission also reflect how World Aquatics and our members have already begun expanding our work beyond competition and swimming as a life skill, to include sustainability, environmental advocacy and wellbeing. Our new brand and visual identity will also enable us to connect with new audiences and encourage new generations of athletes across our disciplines to be united by water, safely, fairly and sustainably.”
The new World Aquatics visual identity will be rolled-out at the first events of 2023. In the interim, the federation’s portfolio of digital assets has been refreshed, including @worldaquatics social platforms. A new website will be launched in conjunction with the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka next summer (14-30 July 2023), the first World Championships fully integrating the new brand identity.
“World Aquatics is determined to play its part in ensuring the ability to participate, compete in and benefit from aquatic sports. This ability is dependent on being able to swim and having access to places to swim. Both these things are incredibly important to World Aquatics and our member federations, and it’s right that our new brand should reflect that,” said World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki.