Husain Al Musallam elected new FINA President

Husain Al Musallam, until now FINA’s First Vice-President, received 302 votes from the delegates representing 183 National Federations (with 108 attending the Congress on site and the remaining ones online).

Representing Kuwait as an international swimmer in his youth, Al Musallam was an airline captain pilot and was first elected to the FINA Bureau in 1996.

In his acceptance speech, at the end of the Congress, the new FINA President stated:

“Today is the start of an exciting new journey for the Aquatic sports Family together, but for me it is also the culmination of a lifetime’s voyage that has brought me to this moment, and the honour of being elected your President.”

Husain Al Musallam then listed the priorities of his presidency: no discrimination, teamwork, reduction of administration expenditure, additional financial support to National Federations, and priority to athletes.

“I am proud that FINA is the first International Federation to introduce a By-law that protects Athletes’ rights. I am proud that 16 members of the new FINA Bureau are athletes who have competed in the Olympic Games, World or Continental Championships. I am proud that for the first time the FINA Executive has a female Vice-President, a great diving champion. Starting at the next year’s World Championships in Fukuoka, 20 active athletes will be elected to the Athletes Committee by the athletes themselves. FINA will be the first International Federation to organise democratic elections for active athletes”, added the new FINA President.

As a concrete example of his engagement with athletes, Anthony Ervin (USA), Olympic champion in 2000 and again in 2016, was invited to deliver some words to the delegates of the Congress.

“Reforms are needed and athletes deserve it. I believe FINA will enter into a new era, and we all look forward to that,” he said.

On financial matters, the new FINA President was clear:

“I will lead by example, and today I make this promise: I will take no payment, either through salary or other compensation, for any of my work with FINA.”

He also added: “All those of us who have the privilege of playing a role in FINA’s administration need to play our part. I plan to reduce per diems for Bureau members by half. In the end we all will be beneficiaries, as we will see the sport that we love continue to grow and flourish.”

At the end of his speech, Husain Al Musallam made a vibrant tribute to his predecessor, Dr Julio C. Maglione (who was distinguished with the FINA Prize at the end of the Congress), elected to the presidency in 2009: “Dr Julio, you step down today with FINA firmly established as one of the leading international sport Federations, and with more Olympic medals than any other sport. You have been a great guardian of our sport, and we thank you for all that you have done,” he concluded.

IOC President Thomas Bach also sent a video message, highlighting the role and importance of Dr Maglione for the Olympic movement.

“During your presidency, FINA has achieved many successes and is today a reference in the sports movement. We always valued your humanity and friendship in everything you do. Please receive my warmest gratitude!” Bach said.

The FINA General Congress was attended by many sport personalities and distinguished authorities from the Middle East: HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Olympic Committee President (awarded with the FINA Order), HE Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Olympic Council of Asia President (who received the FINA Excellence Award), HE Mr Jassim bin Rashid Al Buenain, Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General, Pere Miro, IOC Deputy Director General, Hassan Moustafa, International Handball Federation President, and Vladimir Leonov, Minister of Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russia).

The composition of the elected FINA Bureau for the period 2021-2025, is as follows:

President: Husain Al Musallam (KUW)

First Vice-President: Sam Ramsamy (RSA)

Second Vice-President: Matthew Dunn (AUS)

Treasurer: Dale Neuburger (USA)

Vice-Presidents:          

Paolo Barelli (ITA)

Zhou Jihong (CHN)

Juan Carlos Orihuela (PAR)

Members:              

Zouheir El Moufti (MAR)

Donald Rukare (UGA)

Mohamed Diop (SEN)

Errol Clarke (BAR)

Cheryl Gibson (CAN)

Taha Al Kishry (OMA)

Andrey Kryukov (KAZ)

Fernando Carpena (ESP)

Dimitrios Diathesopoulos (GRE)

David Sparkes (GBR)

Doreen Tiborcz (MRI)

Algernon Cargill (BAH)

Veronica Stanham (URU)

Daichi Suzuki (JPN)

Virendra Nanavati (IND)

Romani Katoa (COK)

Antonio Jose da Silva (POR)

Erik van Heijningen (NED)

As per the FINA Constitution, the Chair of the FINA Athletes Committee Penny Heyns is also a ex-officio member of the Bureau, with voting right.

Finally, four other members were co-opted for the Bureau, as representatives of countries holding upcoming editions of FINA World Championships and Olympic Games: Khaleel Al Jabir (QAT), Gilles Sezionale (FRA), Vladimir Salnikov (RUS) and Balasz Furjes (HUN).

Mr Al Musallam also proposed the nomination of Dr Maglione as FINA Honorary Life President. The Congress approved this proposal, and the immediate FINA President joins Mr Mustapha Larfaoui, also FINA Honorary Life President (since 2009, after 21 years in the FINA presidency).

The Congress also elected the FINA Ethics Panel and FINA Audit Committee for the period 2021-2025. The composition of these bodies is as follows:

Ethics Panel:

Jean Gay (SUI)

Abdon Deguenon (BEN)

Rashid Alanezi (KUW)

William J. Hybl (USA)

Raymond Hack (RSA)

Chris Fydler (AUS)

Audit Committee:

Jan Exner (CZE)

Debendranath Sarangi (IND)

Gustavo Mastroianni (URU)

The FINA Congress also approved all the proposed changes related with changes in the Constitution, General Rules, Code of Ethics, Facilities and Doping Control Rules.

Both the election of officials and rules at the Congress were supervised by Swiss lawyer François Carrard.

Immediately after his election, Mr Al Musallam made a short meeting of the new Bureau, and its first decisions were:

–    Nomination of the new FINA Executive Director, Mr Brent Nowicki (USA)

–    Approval in the raise of prize money for athletes in 2021 for a value of US$ 2.4 million

–   The approval of the creation of a Reform Committee (presided by François Carrard), and respective sub-committees

–   The approval of Memorandum of Understanding with four universities for a programme of education and training for FINA athletes

–    Confirmation of the By-Laws establishing the procedure for the Athletes Committee election in May 2022

Source – AIPS