Australian head coach Jacco Verhaeren has raised concerns over world body FINA’s „ad hoc” reaction to the threat of a rival professional swimming league.
FINA has moved to appease athletes who are fuming over the scrapping of the proposed International Swimming League (ISL) by announcing it will launch the richest event in the sport’s history next year.
The world body will hold the invitation-only, three-leg Champions Swim Series – boasting $US4 million ($A5.5 million) in prize money – between March and May.
FINA made the announcement to calm swimmers who claimed the world body threatened a Tokyo Olympic ban if they contested the lucrative ISL.
Backed by Ukrainian energy tycoon Konstantin Grigorishin, the ISL was set to start in Italy this month but has now been cancelled after the alleged FINA ban threat.
A group of leading swimmers and the ISL are suing FINA as a result, with an aim to relaunch the new league next year.
Verhaeren backed the ISL’s creation and raised questions over FINA’s „random” Champions Swim Series announcement.
„There is concern over the ad trung tam gia su hoc sinh gioi (hocsinhgioi.business.site) approach just to to throw in some other competition,” he told AAP.
„That seems a bit random at the moment.
„The only thing we know is that they plan to do something in March, April and May – it’s pretty much a response to what is happening with the ISL.
„Other than that we know nothing.
„To me those plans from FINA seem to be made on short notice.
Most athletes and coaches have locked their plans in all the way to the Tokyo Olympics.”
In the fallout over the ISL’s scrapping, the sport’s biggest names also assembled in London on Tuesday for a two-day summit to create a Professional Swimmers Association to stand up to FINA.
Australia’s Olympic medallist Madeline Groves and Emily Seebohm are among a delegation boasting 11 Olympic and 18 world champions in London.
Verhaeren backed the athletes summit and believed the ISL’s formation was just a matter of time.
„I think it is a great win for the athletes to be able to compete in a professional league and make money as professional athletes,” he said.
„That it (ISL) will happen at some stage is a certainty, and everyone is in favour of giving athletes more opportunities.
„I think we are all on board with that, not just for athletes but for coaches as well.
„To grow the sport professionally, everyone will encourage that but we still have a long way to go.”