Skip to content

Swimming stars make a stand against FINA

by ZwemZa on December 14th, 2018

FINA says it will hold the invitation-only, three-leg Champions Swim Series – boasting $US4 million ($A5.5 million) in prize money – between March and May.

But it may be too little, too late for the under-fire world body.

The sport’s biggest names will assemble in London next week to create a new athletes association they hope will stand up to FINA after the world body blocked swimmers from contesting a proposed professional league.

Australia’s Olympic medallist Madeline Groves and Emily Seebohm will be among a delegation boasting 11 Olympic and 18 world champions seeking to establish a Professional Swimmers Association (PSA).

The athletes believe the PSA will give them a united voice to demand better treatment from FINA after Campbell’s criticism of the world body made international headlines.

Former world champion Campbell ripped into FINA last week for threatening to ban swimmers from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if they took part in the proposed competition, the International Swimming League (ISL).

Backed by Ukrainian billionaire Konstantin Grigorishin, the lucrative ISL was set to be launched in Italy this month but was scrapped after FINA made the Olympic ban threat.

A group of leading swimmers and the ISL are suing FINA as a result, with an aim to relaunch the ISL next year.

Campbell’s criticism of the world body were cited in each of the separate lawsuits as “evidence that elite swimmers were strongly in favour of the new league”.

Both class actions are suing FINA for “violating US anti-trust law by engaging in anti-competitive behaviour”.

Grigorishin will host the Stamford Bridge summit on December 18-19 and has issued an open invitation for elite swimmer to attend and show their support.

“Having a collective voice will help the swimmers create the foundation for a better future,” an ISL statement said on Swimming World website.

“This is the moment when athletes can make history as the pioneers who changed their sport for the better.”

Among the other confirmed stars attending the summit are England’s Adam Peaty, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Swede Sarah Sjostrom, Italy’s Federica Pellegrini and South Africa’s Chad le Clos.

“Efforts to establish the League have so far been blocked by FINA … but waves of world-class swimmers … have urged the global body that insists on monopoly rule to think again,” the ISL statement said.

“While swimmers generate hundreds of millions in revenue for FINA, swimmers … have, as Grigorishin puts it, “no salary, social guarantees, no welfare, no medical and life insurance, no pension rights”.

“The league (ISL) has pledged to change all that.”

FINA made $A164 million in gross revenue in 2016-17 but spent less than $A29 million on prize money.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: