Swimming body FINA re-elects officials to top 2 positions
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Julio Maglione has been re-elected for a third term as president of swimming's governing body FINA, while Husain al-Musallam was confirmed for another term as its senior vice president despite allegations of bribery against him.
The 81-year-old Maglione, of Uruguay, defeated the president of European aquatics federation LEN, Paolo Barelli, after FINA changed its rules to remove its age limit.
It was an expected victory for Maglione at FINA's election congress on the sidelines of the world championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Barelli complained that he wasn't allowed to speak to the bureau before the vote. He said that essentially ended any hopes he had of persuading the governing body to make a change at the top.
''There is a lack of good governance. We need transparency,'' Barelli told The Associated Press in an interview before the vote was even completed. ''Where it needed to be shown is during the congress. It is not easy for anybody to understand why the candidate cannot speak. This is unbelievable.''
Maglione has been in charge since 2009.
Al-Musallam ran unopposed after FINA cleared the Kuwaiti official on Wednesday for re-election despite fresh allegations made by British daily The Times and German magazine Der Spiegel that he had sought payoffs from sponsorship deals through the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in 2012.
Al-Musallam is next in line to take over the top position should Maglione be unable to fulfill his duties.
FINA said ''there was no breach of any FINA regulations'' after Wednesday's allegations were made, much to Barelli's frustration.
''You cannot permit the infection to enter inside the organization,'' the Italian said. ''FINA doesn't have any (mechanism) to protect themselves from the possibility that something really happened.''
Al-Musallam was previously identified in United States federal documents as ''co-conspirator (hash)3'' in a FIFA bribery case, when FIFA audit committee member Richard Lai of Guam told Brooklyn federal court that he was paid six-figure bribes through the OCA to advance the soccer interests of Kuwaiti officials.
Al-Musallam was allowed to go for re-election to his No. 2 position on the FINA Bureau, despite the Kuwaiti swimming federation being suspended since October 2015. That was because of government interference in the independent running of sports bodies.
FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu of Romania remains in charge of the day-to-day running of the swimming association.