Wednesday, September 7, 2016

FINA Advisers Resign, FINA Response Tortured

Last week, three members (of eight total) of the Doping Control Review Board of FINA, the international body that oversees swimming, resigned their position as advisers to the federation. They explain their resignation in a letter (seen in full below, click on to embiggen), in which they explain their decision.
The three advisers explain that in the wake of the findings of the McLaren report on systematic doping in Russian sport, FINA announced in 25 July that it would "conduct a review and issue a recommendation in respect to whether Russian athletes were subject to a reliable anti-doping scrutiny." The members of the DCRB follow up this announcement by providing to FINA leadership "criteria for the competent review of the adequacy of the anti-doping scrutiny to which the Russian competitors had been subjected."

Such criteria are analogous to those criteria developed and implemented by the IAAF in advance of Rio, leading to the banning of all but one Russian from Rio. The three advisers claim that FINA ignored both its own public commitment to review and recommendation, and along with it, the advice of the the DCRB. The advisers only learned of which Russian swimmers were deemed eligible by watching the games.

For its part, FINA has responded by pretending as if its commitment to review and recommendation never occurred. In a press release issued after the resignations FINA explains:
Concerning the claims expressed in their resignation letter, FINA would like to clarify that the Olympic Games are an IOC event. For Rio 2016, the decision on the participation of the Russian athletes has been made by the CAS and the IOC. FINA fully respected and implemented their decisions.

In this very complex process, FINA did express the DCRB position but our International Federation was not the body ultimately deciding the outcome on this matter.
This statement is patently false. After the IAAF developed its emergency criteria for the inclusion of Russian athletes in Rio, the IOC supported the IAAF procedure noting (emphasis added):
The IOC Executive Board, in a telephone conference today, emphasized that it fully respects the IAAF position. The eligibility of athletes in any international competition including the Olympic Games is a matter for the respective International Federation. 
FINA is simply wrong in its response to the resignations.

Here are those who resigned, as well as those who did not, courtesy SwimVortex:

Who resigned:
  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Pipe (CAN)
  • Dr Larry Bowers (USA)
  • Dr Susan White (AUS)
Who remains:
  • Dr. Jordi Segura (ESP)
  • Pieter Van de Merwe (RSA)
  • Willem L. Mosterd (NED)
  • Jose Veloso Fernandez (VEN)
  • Jian Zhao (CHN) 
That 5 members chose not to resign is an interesting as the three members who did. (Would make a good follow up, reporters, hint, hint;-)

According to Swim Vortex, Cornel Marulescu, Executive Director of FINA, once said, "You cannot condemn the stars for a minor doping offence." In FINA, that perspective is apparently not just culture, it is policy.


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