BUDAPEST: FINA, the world aquatics federation, continued its headlong flight down the path to derision when veteran Uruguayan Julio Maglione was re-elected by congress in Budapest for a third term as president.
Maglione, a former sports minister, was voted back in by a decisive 258 votes to 77 for challenger Paolo Barelli. The Italian senator’s manifesto demanding transparency was not, apparently, to the liking of delegates from national assoications.
Barelli, president of the European Swimming Federation (LEN), had objected to Maglione’s insistence on carrying on even though he had once promised term limits.
Kuwait’s controversial Husain Al-Musallam – who is also secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia – was appointed first vice-president with South Africa’s Sam Ramsamy was voted in as second vice-president.
Afterwards Maglione defended his age as he set about leading FINA through until 2021.
He said: “I’m feeling very well and I respect the decision of FINA assembly. I was elected for four years and I respect my assembly that voted for me. I have the responsibility to be here.”
Barelli denied the opportunity to speak to his candidature during the congress by FINA lawyer Francois Carrard.
The decision drew a round of applause although Carrard also refused Maglione’s request to speak.
In recent weeks Barelli has criticized Maglione’s administration as “unethical”, called for more transparency within the governing body and promised to fight doping within the sport.
The 63-year-old also stated his intention to cap age-limits on future candidates.
At its congress during the last world championships in Kazan, Russia, two years ago, FINA removed age and term limits for senior bureau officials, allowing Maglione to run for a third term.
If Maglione, who first took the FINA helm in 2009, fails to see out his term, as some observers suggest, then the governing body’s first vice-president Husain Al Musallam would take charge.