“Athletes and National Federations are always in the focus”
At the annual LEN Congress held in Marseille (FRA) this year, the delegates approved the President’s and the Treasurer’s Reports and gave unanimous support for Paolo Barelli who had filed his candidacy to become the next FINA President in the elections this July.
In his report, LEN President Paolo Barelli outlined the progress European athletes made in recent years, reaching the podium on numerous occasions at recent global meets including the last FINA World Championships in Kazan 2015 where they captured more than 50 percent of the medals and the 2016 Olympic Games where they amassed 49 medals, the most among the continents.
The President owed this success to the hard work of the National Federations and added that LEN did its best to support them in all possible ways. Thanks to the rock-solid financial base built in recent years – as it was also highlighted in his report by Treasurer Tamas Gyarfas – LEN was able to offer appr. 1.6 million Euros for the federations and the athletes in travel subsidies and prize money in 2015 and 2016. This amount is going to grow in the coming years and a special programme has also been launched to boost the development of smaller federations.
“As always, athletes and national federations are in the focus for LEN, we will give them more and more support in all fields” Paolo Barelli said. “We are also committed to improve ourselves as an organization. I think, this has already been mirrored by the fact that all our major events have been allocated up to 2020 and we are already working on finding the best hosts for 2022 and beyond.”
The President added that the future LEN Bureau strategies included creating sports events on the highest possible level, improving technologies in data handling, TV coverage and event promotion while continuing to be dedicated to European athletes and working towards making aquatics the continent’s favourite sport.
Mr. Barelli also shared some details on his candidacy to become the next FINA President this July. He gave the reasons why he had decided to run for the office pointing to cases of conflicts of interest (FINA Vice-Presidents from other continents attempted to influence of the outcome of last year’s LEN Elections), and also to strengthen the cooperation of Europe and the other continents and FINA.
Among his future priorities at FINA level, Paolo Barelli mentioned to give stronger support – including outstanding economic backing – for the National Federations and especially to the developing countries and the continental organisations. He wants to enforce, at all times and across all positions, good governance and full transparency and fix the number of mandates for the FINA President and Bureau Members as well as to set age-limit to the future candidates. He is about to address the widely known issues of conflicts of interests and to separate the political and judging power within FINA.
“If I’m elected, I will present a clear plan to aggressively fight against any form of alteration of the principles of fair behaviour, but above all, to fight against doping issues by all measures and at all levels” Mr Barelli told the European delegates who gave him unanimous support for his bid. He also announced that European representatives should support Christa Thiel and Fernando Carpena as FINA Bureau candidates at the world-at-large elections in the FINA Congress in July.
Future organisers of major LEN Events – Copenhagen 2017 (short-course swimming), Barcelona 2018 (water polo) and Glasgow 2018 (aquatics) – gave short presentations on their preparations, as well as the hosts of this summer’s World Championships in Budapest, which is going to be the fourth edition held in Europe out of the last five, another proof of the continent’s prominent role in the world of aquatics.