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Catania Withdraws As 2014 World Titles Host

Nov 14, 2011  - Craig Lord

The Euro crisis and debt problems of Italy has stretched to the world of swimming: Sicily has told the Italian Federation (FIN) and FINA that it can no longer host the world short-course championships at Catania in 2014 because of a lack of funds.

Catania won the bid to host FINA's winter showcase in 2014 but relied on funding from the Sicilian regional budget. Sources - backed by confirmation from the Italian Federation - say that the budget has dried up as far as sports events go in the midst of a deep financial crisis in Italy, one that has cost Silvio Berlusconi his political head and threatens to tip the Euro zone into further trouble with financial markets.

A senator in Berlusconi's ruling party in Italy, Paolo Barelli is Hon Secretary of FINA and a member of the ruling executive of the international swimming federation. He will now be among those who must find an alternative to Catania.

FINA finds itself in lamentably familiar territory: Dubai won the right to host the 2013 World Championships (long-course) but was forced to opt out at a time of tightness in national and regional budgets.

Eventually, Barcelona stepped in to host the 2013 event. FINA must now start the 2014 bidding race again after Catania's false start.