The annual LEN Congress was held today on the Portuguese island of Madeira, and one of the crucial decisions was renaming the European Federation for aquatic sports.
The delegates from 43 countries (out of 53 LEN members) attended the Congress. They approved the proposal and voted for LEN to become European Aquatics.
The continental federation, founded in 1927 in Bologna as LEN (the acronym of the French name – Ligue Européenne de Natation), changed its name in line with renaming the world governing body from its French name FINA (Fédération Internationale De Notation) to World Aquatics in December last year.
The LEN Congress – the last one under this name – approved the Activity Report presented by LEN President Antonio Silva.
“When this Bureau was elected, we set 24 strategic objectives in our Action plan; 12 of those have been achieved, and we are on our way to achieving the other twelve as well, while establishing new priorities too,” he said in his presentation, LEN/European Aquatics announced in its today’s press release
.As it was said in the release: “The Financial Report revealed that LEN’s financial situation is as healthy as ever. In 2022, it even produced a small surplus, while the prize money offered to the athletes and the financial contribution allocated to the member federations grew by 20% compared to the last comparable year of 2018 (when LEN’s two biggest events took place in the summer too – European Championships in water polo and other aquatic sports – Ed.). As Treasurer Andida Bouma informed the delegates, the total amount of prize money and support for the federations went up to 1.7 million, including an ad hoc contribution of 124,000 Euros to Ukrainian athletes. Still, LEN’s reserves did not decrease at all. Ms. Bouma added that Deloitte, LEN’s Auditor, has issued a clean (unqualified) audit opinion with respect to the Financial Year 2022.”
A new and independent Integrity Unit (EAIU) will be established. The EAIU will investigate corruption, ethical misconduct, fraudulent behavior, and non-compliance with the European Aquatics Rules and Regulations and the Constitution. While it will have the power to prosecute any potential violations, its primary task will be handling all integrity matters and educating all stakeholders within European Aquatics about their obligations, and ensuring their compliance with those obligations. A new Integrity Code, in line with the World Aquatics document, has been proposed by Bureau Member Pia Johansen and received support from the delegates.
It was also decided, among other things, that from 2025, water polo competitions for the younger ages up to 15 and up to 17 years will be abolished and replaced by European U16 and U18 Championships, like in the World Aquatics competition system.
First Vice-President Josip Varvodic announced a few changes in key positions within the LEN Bureau. The Congress approved the appointments, which included Andida Bouma as the new Treasurer (previously General Secretary), Noam Zwi as the new General Secretary (previously Vice-President), Arno Pajek as the new Vice-President (previously Bureau Member), and Norbert Madaras, the Hungarian Water Polo Federation President, as a new member of the Bureau.
The delegates were informed that the 2024 European Aquatics Elective Congress would be held Athens on January 27.