The succession plan backed by big Middle Eastern money is in place: last week International Swimming Federation FINA took a retrograde step by voting against the tide of Olympic trend on age limits for high office, for a reversal of a promise to have the president stay on for two terms only and for a move that will allow the current head honcho to step aside mid-term around 2019 so that the international federation can be led by a man from Kuwait, a nation with no world-class swimming program.
Backed by delegates of USAS, the umbrella body for USA Swimming, delegates from 139 out of more than 200 member states voted by majority (the actual numbers were not stated in FINA’s announcement to the media) at Congress in Kazan on the eve of the opening ceremony for the world championships in Tartarstan to the following:
- creation of the position of First Vice President. After the approval of the Congress, Husain Al-Musallam (KUW) was elected as FINA First Vice President, with the main duty of representing FINA and conducting FINA meetings in the absence of the President
- any vacancy in the office of President shall be filled by the FINA First Vice President, until the Bureau decides, within 3 months, on the place and date of the Congress electing the new President ;
- definition of the rights and duties for the President, First Vice President, Honorary Secretary and Executive Director;
- the President, First Vice President and Honorary Treasurer may be elected for a maximum of three full terms in the same post;
- suppression of the maximum age limit of the elected Bureau members; NB: The IOC imposes age limits on high office, while IOC member FINA President Julio Maglione stated in 2009 as he campaigned for the top job: “Two terms should be the limit for any president. I don’t want to be there when I’m 80″. He turns 80 next November.
- the new composition of the FINA Executive, now comprised of eight members (until 2017): FINA President, First Vice President, FINA Honorary Secretary, FINA Honorary Treasurer, and four Vice Presidents. As of 2017 onwards, the FINA Executive will include: FINA President, First Vice President, FINA Honorary Treasurer, four Vice Presidents and one more member to be nominated by the President.
“The recent successes of FINA have always been made with your support throughout the years and successive Congresses. FINA firmly believes that Sport is the key for a better and peaceful world, highlighting the values of a healthier lifestyle, social inclusion and fair-play, in a spirit of friendship and respect”, said the man who gains much from the moves and has campaigned endlessly to make sure he might still be in the hot seat in his 80s having dethroned the past president on a promise of two-terms only: Julio C. Maglione, of Uruguay.