Chairman of world swimming authority FINA Husain Al-Musallam has commented on the potential transfer of Russian swimming to Asian jurisdiction so that Russian athletes can potentially qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Russian athletes have been banned from sports like swimming since earlier this year, when federations including FINA followed an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation to suspend them in response to the military operation in Ukraine.
Following an IOC Olympic Summit on Friday in Lausanne, the IOC said participants “unanimously approved” study a proposal from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to “to facilitate the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in competitions in Asia under its authority, while respecting the sanctions in place.”
Earlier this month, Russian Diving Federation (RDF) President Stanislav Druzhinin said the organization was in talks with FINA to move to the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF) from the European Diving League. swimming (LEN).
Asked about the subject at an extraordinary general congress of FINA, where the organization announced that it would change its name to World Aquatics, Al-Musallam insisted that no decision had been made. “regarding the participation of Russian athletes at this time.”
Al-Musallam revealed that a way to resolve the situation in relation to the real Olympic, which is a United Nations resolution, was being considered.
But he also insisted the sport must stay “neutral,” “free,” and governed by sports stakeholders.
“And [as] for the participation of Russia and Belarus [athletes] for the next Olympic Games, this [is a] decision the whole Olympic family will decide. But [it’s a decision that has] has not yet been taken, he added.
About Russia “ask to join Asia”, Al-Musallam said that Russia “didn’t ask for that” officially and simply proposed it.
Al-Musallam said the idea of Russian athletes being allowed to compete in the Paris Games would only become a reality if the “the whole world and the Olympic movement” invite the Russians to try to qualify from the Asian tryouts.
Speaking to TASS, Druzhinin previously said the RDF was “in consultation with FINA, unlike the European federation.
“We have a very difficult dialogue with him, it is more likely that he does not exist at all”, Druzhinin added.
Russian sports body discusses move to Asia
“We haven’t participated in any international competitions this year, but we are working and discussing with FINA. We’ve said many times [FINA president] Mr. Husain Al Musallam that we would like to move to the Asian federation and leave the European federation, to participate in the Asian championship and Asian competitions.
Druzhinin said FINA was “think about” the switch and that the international federation “will make a decision soon”, which, according to Al-Musallam, is not completely dependent on its organization.