LEN Congress meets Tomorrow in Funchal, Madeira to vote on Historic changes

Funchal plays host to the annual LEN Congress with European Member Federations meeting to approve proposals including constitutional change, rebranding, and the creation of the independent Integrity Unit.

FUNCHAL – The beautiful island of Madeira is hosting the annual LEN Congress this weekend, which could open a new chapter in the history book of aquatics.

Representatives of the Member Federations will vote on several proposals, one of which is to change the name of LEN – Ligue Européenne de Natation – to European Aquatics after 96 years, in line with the global governing body’s recent decision to become World Aquatics (after being called FINA for more than 110 years).

Congress attendance reflects the importance of the upcoming key decisions – 43 federations will be present, and 148 registered participants will fill the site of the congress on Saturday, a record for recent years.

Beyond renaming the continental governing body of aquatics, a proposed change to the LEN Constitution states: “For the good of Aquatics and all Athletes, European Aquatics shall ensure that all Aquatics in Europe are governed, organized, developed, and managed in accordance with the principles of democracy, the right to equality, and no discrimination between any race, skin colour, gender, religion, sexual orientation, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or any other reason, neutrality, transparency, accountability, fair play, inclusion, sportsmanship, and clean sport. Above all, Athletes are the central focus of European Aquatics’ commitment.”

A crucial proposed amendment of the LEN Constitution is set to establish the European Aquatics Integrity Unit, replacing the LEN Panel for Disciplinary Matters and Disputes. The aim is to have a fully independent body that will maintain confidence in the integrity of Aquatics and in the commitment of European Aquatics to take all steps necessary to protect that integrity.

The EAIU is set to combat all forms of corruption and ethical misconduct, investigate fraudulent behaviour, and detect all forms of misconduct and non-compliance with this Constitution and/or the European Aquatics Rules and Regulations to ensure the confidence of all Athletes in Europe who dedicate their lives to reach their sporting goals.

The unit will have the power to investigate and prosecute potential violations, but its main task would be handling all integrity matters and educating all stakeholders within European Aquatics about their obligations thereunder and to monitor their compliance with those obligations. A new Integrity Code, aligning with the same document issued by World Aquatics, is also to be approved by the Congress.

Other significant Constitutional changes relate to gender equality as well as the introduction of a maximum age limit for Bureau Membership.

The LEN Congress shall also discuss the Annual Activity Report presented by President Antonio Silva, and the members can have an in-depth look at the finances, courtesy of Treasurer Andida Bouma.