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World Coaches: 'FINA Boss Violated Rules'

Sep 3, 2010  - Craig Lord

The World Swimming Coaches Association is to lodge an official complaint with Dr Julio Maglione, the president of FINA, over what the body alleges to have been a flagrant violation of FINA rules by the executive director of the international federation, Cornel Marculescu. Further, they accused the director of contributing to athletes being cheated out of their rightful places. 

The resolution was passed by unanimous vote of the board of WSCA at a meeting in Indianapolis at which members heard John Leonard, executive chairman of ASCA,  call for a "rebuilding of the professional staff of FINA" and a succession plan to be put in place for a post-Marculescu era. The current executive director has been in the hot seat since the 1980s and has overseen a great many developments and positive changes in the organisation of world aquatic sports, a point that was not lost on Leonard and fellow coaches, who praised the director's efforts down the years.

However, Marculescu was accused by members of the WSCA board of "openly flaunting existing rules" with practices that ought never to be repeated and a man who was now "an obstacle to progress", said Leonard, whose views drew support from professionals coaching in America, Australia, Africa, Canada and Europe. They included US head coach Mark Schubert, who was incensed over what had unfolded in Roberval at the world open water championships in June, as summed up in these articles with world champion and Olympic medallist Thomas Lurz (GER) at the centre of attention: 

"He is the best, he was the best guy there, and what happened to him was just terrible," said Schubert, of Lurz's experience. Leonard added: "He [the director] clearly promoted and allowed the use of suits that most athletes did not have access too. he contributed to athletes being cheated out of their rightful places. That has to be the end."

The WSCA resolution to be lodged with the FINA president states: "The WSCA resolves that the FINA Executive Director exceeded his authority at the open water world championships; that the FINA Executive Director clearly and flagrantly violated the rules passed at the Rome FINA Congress; and that the FINA Executive Director created a situation that violated the spirit and fact of fair competition."

SwimNews has requested comment from FINA and will add it to this article as and when we receive a response (note that at the time of filing this article mid-afternoon in the US, it is almost midnight in Lausanne, where FINA has its headquarters).