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FINA Exec Confirms Congress Cut On Suits

Jul 24, 2009  - Craig Lord

Julio Maglione, the new FINA President, and Cornel Marculescu, Executive Director, have confirmed that the international federation's executive will endorse the agreement of 168 nations at Congress in Rome and bring the suits crisis to an end when they provide details of the 2010 suit profile on Tuesday next week. 

Maglione -elected President on a day when Congress voted to restrict residency of that office to a maximum two terms after Mustapha Larfaoui (ALG) had been in situ for 21 years and five terms - talked about the honour of being President of FINA before adding: "Sometimes the day-to-day issues of FINA are dominated by more urgent matters. I imagine that you all want to know about the swim suit issue." He then confirmed the decision of Congress: a return to textile suits and an end to bodysuits by January 1, 2010.

 Marculescu left no room for doubt: "What Congress made clear today is that we should define shape of suits for men and women and, more than that, the material is going to go to textile." There were details to discuss and a review board of scientists, including Prof Jan-Anders Manson of the Swiss Institute of Technology, would define "textile" and fine points, such as a ban on zippers in women's suits would be added, but what Congress wanted was what swimming would get. The technique-based sport dormant since February 2008 is alive again. The techno-based impostor now has eight days to throw its weight about at world level in Rome before waving goodbye to race waters soon to be cleansed of a poison that ought never to have been poured.

Maglione, of Uruguay, speaking in Spanish after his press conference said: "We have to proceed with concsience. This has to be about the swimmers. We have no choice but to do this. They work hard and this is their sport, their show. FINA is the swimmers and the federations."

FINA was asked whether it would apologise for what had happened. "The most important thing is the future. We cannot change the past," said Cornel Marculescu, executive director, a man who over the past year has tussled with all sides of the debate, listened to a million arguments, turned to science for solutions and scaled the wall of knowledge on an issue that has placed FINA in the firing line.

 On Tuesday, he said "you will applaud FINA". He did not think it had taken too long to find a solution. The ski federation, he noted, had taken five years to get their techno nightmare right. Thanks to USA Swimming and the coaches around the world who have been banging the drum of protest behind the scenes heaven and earth were moved in Rome and federations responded with a show of green cards that left suit makers in no doubt about what they must do next. Let us hear no more about commercial pressures, investment costs and stocks. The shareholders have spoken. A line is about to be drawn.

At Congress, FINA elected its new officers for service until 2013, some of whom must now ask themselves why they sat back far too comfortably while suit wars has been raging.

The composition of the Bureau is as follows:

  • President
 Dr Julio Maglione (URU) 

  • Honorary Secretary 
Paolo Barelli (ITA) 

Honorary Treasurer 
Pipat Paniangvait (THA) 


  • Sam Ramsamy (RSA)
  • Dale Neuburger (USA)
  • Hironoshin Furuhashi (JPN)
  • Nory Kruchten (LUX) 

Bill Matson (NZL)


Chief Olatokunbo Thomas (NGR); 
Farid El Allam (MAR); 
Abd El Rahman Amin (EGY); 
Dr Margo Mountjoy (CAN); 
Coaracy Nunes Filho (BRA); 
Orban Mendoza (PUR); 
Eugenio Martinez (CUB); 
Hussain Al Musallam (KUW); 
Qiuping Zhang (CHN); 
Dimitris Diathessopoulos (GRE); 
Paulo Frischknecht (POR); 
Tamas Gyarfas (HUN); 
Gennady Aleshin (RUS); 
Dennis Miller (FIJ) .

If Europe had some serious problems some weeks and months ago, it appears that peace may now reign again. In Oceania, political moves have worked to ensuring that Australia has no Bureau member. That is not good for swimming. Politics over the best governance of swimming by the best people for the job. There is always a price to pay when "success" is gained by foul means.

Meanwhile, Mustapha Larfaoui (ALG) becomes FINA Honorary Life President.

In his first speech as FINA President, Maglione thanked the support of the 201 National Federations worldwide, and expressed his optimism for the future of FINA. “A new era is just beginning. I do not want to let you down. I would never forgive myself. I hope to be able to accomplish all the goals proposed and everything they mean in terms of progress and development for FINA,” said Maglione, with tears in his eyes.

The new FINA Honorary Life President expressed his satisfaction after being at the helm of FINA for 21 years: “During this period, we have progressed a lot and it was a privilege and an honour to me to participate and witness this development. We are today more important, more respected and more recognised worldwide,” said Larfaoui, a man who appears still not to have understood that respect and honour must be earned and it is not earned by doing what FINA has done in the last 18 months of his watch.

General Congress approved the following rule changes:

  • Candidates for President shall be nominated in writing three months before the Congress, and the Executive Director should notify on the candidates for President at least two months prior to the Congress;
  • The President, Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer can be elected only for a maximum of two terms in the same post;
  • A new rule concerning the shape and the material (only textile) of the swimsuits was approved;
  • At the FINA World Championships (50m and 25m), in swimming, semi-finals and finals may be swum using 10 lanes. In consequence, a new scoring system for this competition was adopted;
  • In terms of the Facilities rules, any new competition equipment (such as starting blocks) must be available by January 1 in the year of the Olympic Games and FINA World Championships. Precisions concerning starting blocks and lane ropes were adopted;
  • Equipment for diving and synchronised swimming was also added to the rules;
  • Concerning the Doping Control Rules, the Congress unanimously approved some minor changes concerning the update of the rules in accordance with the WADA Code.
  • General Congress also approved the new Doping Panel and Disciplinary Panel for the period 2009-2013:

Doping Panel

  • Chairman: Erik Van Heijningen (NED)
  • Members: Farid Ben Belkacem (ALG), William Bock (USA), Toshiro Ueyanagi (JPN), Robert Fox (SUI), Peter Kerr (AUS)

Disciplinary Panel

  • Chairman: Dr. Christa Thiel (GER)
  • Members: Onyango Njeri (KEN), Gordon Peterson (CAN), Li Hua (CHN), David Sparkes (GBR), Chris Fydler (AUS)