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Barelli vows to reintroduce FINA age limits after gaining European support for Presidential bid

by ZwemZa on May 14th, 2017
Paolo Barelli

Paolo Barelli

Italy’s Paolo Barelli has vowed to reintroduce age limits for International Swimming Federation (FINA) Bureau positions if he is elected President of the world governing body.

Barelli’s sole opponent Julio Maglione was only able to stand for a third term in the top role after FINA abolished their maximum age limit of 80 for those standing for positions in 2015.

The Uruguayan is currently 81 and is standing for a fresh four-year term.

Reverting to the old rule was cited as a priority by the Italian during the European Swimming Federation (LEN) Congress in Marseille.

“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,” a statement from LEN said.

“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-limits 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.”

LEN claimed that Barelli received unanimous support for his bid from delegates present.

Delegates were urged to raise either green cards in support or red in opposition.

There were red cards were raised, insidethegames has been told, but this does not necessarily mean there is no opposition.

“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,” Barelli told delegates.

Barelli, a member of Italy’s Olympic team at Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976, is unlikely to receive unanimous backing in Europe.

He is currently the honorary secretary of FINA, but that position is ceasing to exist this year.

Barelli sees this as an attack on European influence within the world body and has claimed that increasingly influential members from Asia and Africa are more interested in political and economic power than promoting sport.

The 62-year-old Senator from Rome also proposed that LEN members vote for Royal Spanish Swimming Federation President Fernando Carpena and Christa Thiel, President of the German Swimming Federation President for 16 years until she stepped down in 2016, for two vacant European positions on the FINA Bureau.

Both Royal Dutch Swimming Federation President Erik van Heijningen and Russian Swimming Federation President Vladimir Salnikov are also standing for re-election to the FINA Bureau, despite failing to be nominated by LEN.

It is likely that neither The Netherlands nor Russia will ultimately support Barelli’s Presidential bid.

insidethegames has been told that Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania all plan to back Maglione in the election.

Elections are due to take place at the FINA Congress in Budapest on July 22.

Nick Butler | Inside the Games

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