European Aquatics President Antonio Silva is to be removed from his position as the head of the Portuguese Swimming Federation (FPN) after a five-month Government inquiry concluded that his behaviour was incompatible with leadership of a national sports federation.
Mr Silva was investigated after he was the subject of an Ethics complaint made by Alexandra Jorge, the former secretary of the General Assembly of the FPN.
The judgment, signed by the president of the board of directors at the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth, Vítor Pataco, instructs the FPN to initiate the process for Silva’s dismissal.
This decision not only jeopardizes Silva’s position in Portugal but also raises questions about the validity of his candidacy for the presidency of European Aquatics, the entire reform process of the organisation, as well as his role as a World Aquatics Bureau member.
Perplexingly, the ruling from the Portuguese government is in complete contrast to conclusions made by the European Aquatics Bureau, and their legal commission just last week, who found that there had been no breach of European Aquatics rules, and that Mr Silva was allowed to seek re-election of his European Aquatics presidency later this month.
Despite currently being embroiled as the subject of a World Aquatics Integrity Unit complaint and inquiry, Mr Silva is the sole candidate for the European Aquatics presidency, due to take place on 27th January. However, his candidacy is reliant on the mandate given to him by the Portuguese Swimming Federation, but with his removal from the role, his candidacy is unlikely to proceed. Since new candidates need to register at least 30 days before any new elections can be arranged, the vote on the 27th will almost certainly be axed.
So what is Antonio Silva actually being accused of?
Antionio Silva, the President of European Aquatics, is also the President of the Portugeuse Swimming Federation (FPN).
Silva is essentially facing questions about why he registered intellectual property rights for a water-safety scheme and brand belonging to the federation in his own name. Additionally, there are concerns about nepotism linked to contracts given to service providers in both the Portuguese and European federations, as well as special privileges granted to associates of those in leading roles in Europe.
Alexnadra Jorge has questioned the use of FPN funds for the purpose of Silva’s European Aquatics presidential campaign.
What have European Aquatics/LEN said?
Eyebrows are being raised at European Aquatics response to the situation, which is at odds with the ruling made by the Portuguese government.
European Aquatics says there had been no breach of its rules after the governing body held a Bureau meeting on 10 January following an ethics complaint against its own president Antonio Silva. A European Aquatics press release says:
” European Aquatics believes that Ms. Jorge’s letter has been carefully dealt with according to European Aquatics rules and that the information presented by her does not justify doubts about the integrity of Antonio da Silva either as European Aquatics president or as a candidate for the presidency.”
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