Significant progress for European Aquatics
The first three months of activity of the recently elected LEN Bureau was discussed with national member federations of the European Aquatics association at the LEN Extraordinary Congress in Cascais.
In his welcome speech, LEN President Antonio da Silva recalled that before the February election a manifesto featuring four pillars had been presented. These were: integrity, transparency and governance – a sport accessible for all – to learn and work together for the benefit of aquatic disciplines – sustainability, to make LEN fit for the future.
“In my manifesto, there was an agenda for each of the four pillars” the President said. “We outlined what we wanted LEN to achieve in the first 100 days in office. Significant progress has already been made to achieve these ambitions, and progress will continue to be made and will be ongoing.” He announced that five objectives had already been achieved, 16 are in progress and 3 will start after the Congress.
The detailed presentations revealed that SIGA, the Sport Integrity Global Alliance had conducted its Phase One audit and shared its findings with LEN to improve its governance. As General Secretary Andida Bouma said, an independent integrity unit is to set up, an integrity hotline has already been launched and new ethics, integrity and anti-doping violation policies are on the table. As for transparency, new Bureau liaisons have been appointed and an increased communication on Bureau decisions and activities are already in place. New measures to improve support and accessibility of information for members, as well as developing and executing a new LEN corporate strategy are also set in motion.
The Congress have approved several changes to the Constitution including not only shaping the new Athletes Committee but also to give even more voice to the athletes by granting them voting rights at the Congress. Also, LEN will continue to identify ways to support athletes to progress through aquatic disciplines.
Bureau member Rokur Jakupsstovu announced that LEN had also established sub-committees for Education and Coaching, the Learn-to-Swim programme and in talks with the International Paralympic Committee on the governance transfer of para-swimming to LEN. A new LEN website as well as a new media strategy is in the making.
Treasurer Tomas Kucinskas shared some findings on the internal audit and the changes made to the annual budget approved by the previous Bureau. While LEN’s financial situation is still healthy and sound, a new investment strategy shall be implemented soon. The leadership will consider the resourcing structure of LEN Office to strengthen the organisation with a commercially orientated focus. The Treasurer added that new or extension tenders would be launched for the existing key partners, the discussions with EBU (Eurovision) already started as well as the defining of new bidding procedures for LEN Events up until 2028.
“We propose creating a comprehensive commercial strategy that assesses the potential for LEN to increase its revenues” Mr Kucinskas said. “This will include a specific focus on generating significant revenues through host city relationships, sponsorship and broadcast rights sales.”
LEN has launched a Solidarity Programme for Ukraine, to support its athletes and aquatic federations to prepare for this year’s LEN and FINA events. LEN contributed € 100,000 already, similarly to FINA and the International Olympic Committee, but more aide is needed, and all federations, institution and individuals are invited to support Ukrainian aquatics (details, the dedicated bank account number will be available on the LEN website soon).
The Congress approved Josip Varvodic as LEN First Vice-President, elected Erkan Yalcin and Noam Zwi as Vice-Presidents and confirmed the Bureau Membership of Sandor Wladar (HUN) and Arno Pajek (AUT), as well as Liam Tancock (GBR) as Chair of the Athletes’ Committee.
The delegates elected new members for the Audit Committee, Paloma Mendoza Olea (ESP) and Simon Renno (EST), and also for the Disciplinary Panel, Pedro Manuel Alves Meireles (POR), Rok Vehovec (SLO) and Stefanos Avgouleas (GRE).
The Congress concluded with presentations by LEN Partners EBU and Fluidra. Eurovision plans to cooperate with LEN on delivering unique solutions in order to offer even higher standards in broadcasting to enlarge the audience. EBU and the member federations should work closer to expand the number of countries where live broadcasting of the major LEN Events are available. Also, LEN TV might be transformed into a Netflix-like platform of aquatics contents, where live streaming of LEN Events would continue too.