The FINA Bureau today met by videoconference to discuss the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the current measures in place against Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials participating in FINA events.
While denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and discussing the impacts of the ensuing war on aquatics athletes and events, the FINA Bureau remained opposed to a blanket ban of all athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus and maintained its position that Russian and Belarusian athletes should only participate in FINA events in a neutral capacity. This decision was backed by an overwhelming majority of the FINA Athletes’ Committee which confirmed its opposition to a blanket ban of Russian and Belarusian athletes. The FINA Bureau recognised, however, that concerns about the safety of athletes and the viability of events might warrant the exclusion of athletes and or teams in some circumstances.
Further to their commitment to monitor the grave situation and make further decisions as appropriate, the FINA Bureau added to the measures at FINA’s disposal and passed a new bylaw that now provides FINA with the power to review the participation of athletes and officials at FINA events on a case-by-case basis in emergency situations, such as the current war in Ukraine. With this legal basis now in place, FINA could potentially prevent athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from attending any upcoming FINA event if their attendance threatens the safety and wellbeing of athletes or places the conduct of competition at risk.
FINA will now carefully review all events on the calendar before making any decisions to suspend athletes or teams from those events. These reviews will respect all athletes and their rights, and ensure the safe implementation of FINA events.
The FINA Bureau also committed to increasing its collaboration with the International Testing Agency (ITA) to ensure that necessary measures are in place to continue out-of-competition anti-doping controls within Russia, Belarus and Ukraine during this difficult period. This issue will be followed closely by the FINA office.
In closing, the FINA Bureau expressed its continued support of the Ukrainian aquatics community, which included joint financial assistance with European Aquatics (LEN) to the Ukraine Swimming, Diving and Artistic Swimming Federations. A steering committee, chaired by Prof. Antonio da Silva (FINA Bureau Member and LEN President), will lead this initiative.
FINA will continue to prioritise measures aimed at supporting the Ukrainian aquatics community, alongside national swimming federations, National Olympic Committees, the International Olympic Committee and LEN.