Member Federations vote in favour of World Aquatics headquarters move to Budapest and the federation’s plan to set up a foundation in Lausanne.
Headlining these decisions was membership approval for World Aquatics to relocate the federation’s headquarters from Lausanne, Switzerland to Budapest, Hungary.
Hungary has been a steady partner of international aquatics, having hosted 25 World Aquatics events since 2013, including the World Aquatics Championships in 2017 and 2022. The World Aquatics Championships are scheduled to return to the Hungarian capital in 2027, as well as next year’s World Aquatics Swimming Championships (25m).
World Aquatics and Hungary also work together on the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme that sees up to 20 top international student-athletes receive university education alongside world-class training support.
On 26 May 2023, World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam and Hungarian government officials signed a memorandum of understanding to further cooperate around a potential move of the federation’s relocation to Budapest.
“I have always said that our athletes must come first,” said World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam. “This is a move that will put athletes at the centre of our headquarters, in a training centre. It will also save significant sums of money that can be invested in our athletes.”
With Hungary’s proud history of and commitment to aquatic sports, Budapest currently features dedicated aquatics training and competition facilities that include the Duna Arena and the Alfred Hajos National Swimming Stadium.
In addition to its current home base in Switzerland, World Aquatics operates several development centres around the world.
During the World Aquatics Congress, members also approved establishing a World Aquatics Foundation in Lausanne.
Guided by the World Aquatics’ mission to ensure more people can participate, compete in and benefit from aquatic sports, the foundation will oversee the federation’s development work. This includes development and training, learn-to-swim programming, coaches and officials’ clinics and development, in particular programmes that use aquatic sports as a tool for social betterment.
Separately, Lausanne will be the home of the Aquatics Integrity Unit. Proposed by the Reform Committee, the Unit was approved by World Aquatics Member Federations at an Extraordinary General Congress in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in December 2021. The Unit became fully operational on 1 January 2023.
"World Aquatics has had a very close relationship with the City of Lausanne since first establishing an office there in 1986, and it is a relationship that I am very committed to continuing long into the future,” World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam said. “The new World Aquatics Foundation, based in Lausanne, will benefit aspiring athletes in every corner of the world. In addition, Lausanne will be the home of the Aquatics Integrity Unit, which is central to overseeing our good governance. I am delighted that Lausanne will continue to be such an important base for World Aquatics."