The arbitration court rejects the federal president’s appeal against the disqualification (already expired) of the World Federation for alleged wrongdoings
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) of Lausanne rejects Paolo Barelli’s appeal against the two-year disqualification imposed on him on 8 November 2022 by the Fina Ethics Panel, now World Aquatics, which had investigated “multiple referrals of alleged offenses originating from separate cases” (the affair of the 497,000 to be returned to the Court of Auditors for the works on the swimming stadium after a dispute with CONI concluded with the acquittal of Barelli, and the one million euro addendum from Len to Fin for the European Championships of Rome 2022). The suspension, discounted for one year and reduced for the other, will expire on November 8th but it is a first line, because the second disqualification until 2025 relating to the case of reimbursements to Fina of 297,000 dollars will be resumed on September 23rd in Lausanne, where the president of the swimming federation and president of the FI deputies went yesterday. Barelli says that he will appeal to the Swiss Federal Court. An affair that arose from Bartolo Consolo’s complaints about Barelli’s alleged management irregularities and which had led to Fina’s suspension on 8 November 2022. On 21 January 2022 the Morges (Svi) Prosecutor’s Office closed the criminal case. On 9 March 2023, FINA increased the suspension by another year, after the two already decided, for having received “undue payments”. The world federation panel had specified that the one-year ban imposed on Barelli “will remain in force even after its expiry if the amount of 297,000 euros is not fully reimbursed”. On 9 May, the CONI Sport Attorney General, Ugo Taucer, closed the three investigation procedures, authorizing the federal swimming prosecutor.
Waiting for Coni
At CONI they are carefully evaluating the situation created after this decision by the CAS, but it is not known what the next moves will be: will CONI wait for the verdict of the appeal from the Swiss Court before placing the commissioner? From Barelli’s reactions there should be no operational shocks to the Federation, currently represented by vice president Andrea Pieri.
Here is the defense of the number one in swimming: “The ruling of the Tas does not change anything for the purposes of federal life; the year of disqualification expired on September 14th and at the same time the activities continued in full operation, but I will still appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court to protect the correctness of my actions and of the Italian Swimming Federation. However, I welcome with satisfaction the cancellation of the other year of inhibition ordered by the World Swimming Federation in relation to the management of direct financing for the Olympic swimming pools in Rome in the three-year period 2005-2007. The Spor Arbitration Court underlines that the European Swimming League chaired by Antonio Silva has approved and ratified the addendum relating to the contract of the European Championships in Rome 2022 and thanked the appellant for the excellent organization of the event, in the period of Covid it was common practice to amend agreements in relation to the changes generated by the pandemic. The image damage caused to World Aquatics is modest. Despite this, the Tas considers the conflict of interest to be evident because it was I who signed, as president of Len, the addendum to the contract for the Europeans organized by Fin. All this clearly appears to be an oxymoron; moreover, in its in-depth investigation, the CAS does not consider that as president I had the non-derogable obligation to sign all the administrative-commercial documents, including on the occasion of the contract for the organization of the European Championships in Rome 2022″.
September 19, 2023 (changed September 19, 2023 | 10.50pm)
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