Scan­dal threat­ens FINA on eve of world champs

Scan­dal threat­ens FINA on eve of world champs

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

BU­DAPEST:

Swim­ming’s gov­ern­ing body FINA has been drawn into a fi­nan­cial scan­dal days be­fore both their pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and the start of the swim­ming world cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest. Kuwait’s Hu­sain Al Musal­lam, who is stand­ing un­op­posed as FINA’s first vice-pres­i­dent, has been caught up in a con­tro­versy for ap­pear­ing to de­mand a 10 per­cent cut of po­ten­tial spon­sor­ship deals.

In his role as gen­eral di­rec­tor of the Olympic Coun­cil of Asia (OCA), the 57-year-old is heard ask­ing for ‘com­mis­sions’ on deals worth “40 to 50 mil­lion” dol­lars in a tape record­ing ob­tained by The Times and Ger­many’s Speigel On­line. The ex­change is said to be be­tween a prospec­tive Chi­nese marketing agent and Musal­lam, who sug­gested that 10 per cent of any spon­sor­ship deals ar­ranged for the OCA should be sep­a­rately chan­nelled to him. Ahead of their elec­tions in Bu­dapest on Satur­day and Sun­day’s start of swim­ming ac­tion at the world cham­pi­onships in the Hun­gar­ian cap­i­tal, FINA said none of their reg­u­la­tions had been breached.

“These al­le­ga­tions are a mat­ter for OCA to com­ment on al­though FINA will mon­i­tor de­vel­op­ments care­fully,” said FINA in a state­ment. “How­ever, it was de­ter­mined there was no case to an­swer based on the in­for­ma­tion that is avail­able to FINA at this time. “More­over, there was no breach of any FINA reg­u­la­tions.” The OCA de­nied any wrong­do­ing on Musal­lam’s part and ques­tioned the tim­ing of the ar­ti­cles.

“The OCA firmly de­nies that OCA of­fi­cials re­quested com­mis­sions for OCA spon­sor­ship deals and con­firms that no com­mis­sion or money was paid to OCA of­fi­cials, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, for OCA spon­sor­ship deals,” read the state­ment.

“All money for spon­sor­ship deals went di­rectly to the OCA. “The OCA is fully aware of the tape in ques­tion and its con­tent and be­lieves that this tape is be­ing used in a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated cam­paign ahead of the up­com­ing FINA elec­tions sched­uled for 22 July 2017.” The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) told The Times and Der Spiegel that it had passed the al­le­ga­tions to its chief ethics in­ves­ti­ga­tor. It is not the first time this year that Musal­lam has courted con­tro­versy. In April, The Times re­vealed, he was ef­fec­tively iden­ti­fied in a US De­part­ment of Jus­tice in­dict­ment as a co-con­spir­a­tor who al­legedly paid bribes to a foot­ball of­fi­cial.

Musal­lam is the right-hand man of Olympic power­bro­ker and OCA pres­i­dent Sheikh Ah­mad Al Fa­had Al Sabah, who in April re­signed from his FIFA af­ter be­ing iden­ti­fied as a co-con­spir­a­tor, along with Musal­lam, in the US in­dict­ment. The record­ing ob­tained by The Times has emerged from the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Musal­lam and Sheikh Ah­mad. — AFP

— AFP

BU­DAPEST: Team Sin­gapour com­petes in the Women’s Team Free Rou­tine pre­lim­i­nary dur­ing the syn­chro­nised swim­ming com­pe­ti­tion at the 2017 FINA World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, yes­ter­day.

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