— Published 19 October 2021

The LEN gets into deeper water

The European Swimming League (LEN) is in crisis. At the last congress of the body, held at the end of September in Budapest, 24 national federations, gathered in a group of opponents called “Europe for All” (E4A), presented a petition demanding that an extraordinary congress be held on February 5th in Paris. The protesting presidents, led by Portuguese António José Silva and Croatian Josip Varvodic, are calling for the resignation of the current LEN Board and for new elections to be held. Their demand has been registered. But it does not seem to have been heard by the current team of the continental body. In a letter signed by the presidents of the protesting federations (including France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria), of which FrancsJeux obtained a copy, António José Silva and Josip Varvodic renew their request for an extraordinary congress in February 2022 in Paris. They are surprised that this request does not appear in the official LEN press releases published after the Budapest Congress. Finally, they ask for precise and detailed information on the procedure for the nomination of candidates for the LEN Bureau’s elections, which are requested in the context of the next extraordinary congress. At a time when the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has launched a vast reform plan, the open crisis at the LEN comes at the worst possible moment. But it is not the first time the continental body, chaired by the Italian Paolo Barelli, is in turmoil. Last March, Swiss police raided its offices in Nyon to seize documents following allegations of financial irregularities and embezzlement. But the investigation was unsuccessful.