World Aquatics Dismisses Italian Swimming Federation Rumors Before Paris Olympics, Leaving Future in Balance

Published 01/25/2024, 1:48 PM EST

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The arrival of 2024 has only sped up the race to the Olympics for the athletes. However, while they stand buckled up, the governing bodies have been right behind to lend the right push and direction needed. But for the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN), the case has been a path of uncertainty with long-stretched matters of management unsettled with 5 athletes in contention and more on line.

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The Italian Swimming Federation holds a long history of functioning with its jurisdiction spread wide. However, in 2022 the committee faced a setback when its president Paolo Barelli faced a 2-year suspension. 2 years later, following an appeal and a position reclaim announcement, another obstacle has come FIN’s way with World Aquatics’ recent statement.

Italian Swimming Federation faces uncertainty

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On the 24th of January, the Swimming Federation released a statement saying Paolo Barelli had won against World Aquatics to find his position back as FIN’s president. However, less than 24 hours later, World Aquatics dismissed the claim saying Barelli was to be under suspension until September 2024, based on a previous CAS decision. World Aquatics notes with concern and regret media reports and also the claims published by the Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) that Mr. Paolo Barelli is resuming the presidency of FIN,” the committee stated.

It further added that, as per the CAS decision on September 15th, 2023, Paolo Barelli was to stay suspended from all aquatic-related activity until the given dates. In the release earlier, Barelli had acknowledged the Olympics matters for swimming and his plans to proceed without further delay. “Without further waste of energy necessary to defend myself,” were the 62-year-old’s words. The remark arrived following the years-long battle over wrongdoing allegations.

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A look over the case

In November 2022, Paolo Barelli was sanctioned a 2-year suspension over allegations across three cases. The 10-year president of the European Swimming League was accused of financial irregularity and multiple rule violations of the FINA Constitution and the FINA Code of Ethics. A further extension to a 3-year suspension arrived in March last year. The decision prompted the former LEN head to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The decision of which Barelli claimed was in his favor on the 24th of January.

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“Finally, the CAS decision cancels all the accusations and suspicions which … tried to tarnish my image as a sports director and politician,” Barelli stated. I always had faith in the final outcome of justice.” However, World Aquatics dismissed the claims and added that suspension violation might lead to further sanction. With the newer developments, the situation remains uncertain for the Swimming Federation.

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Written by:

Shivatmika Manvi

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Edited by:

Himanshu Sridhar

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