The FINA Bureau meeting of January 27-28, 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, saw a remarkable shift in opinion on the topic above, being the inclusion of a professional coach on the FINA Bureau in its coming iterations, with voice but no vote.
The measure, proposed by USA Swimming and other federations, lost by a vote of 17-4… BUT voting with the four, was FINA President Julio Maglione.
This vote simply means that the Bureau will recommend that this motion not be adopted by the FINA Congress in its meetings on the FINA Constitution this July in Shanghai. As we saw with the swimsuit rules, sometimes, when the cause is good, the federations will NOT support the Bureau recommendations, but instead, vote for the right result.
And surely in a sport dominated by professional athletes and coached by professional coaches, the input from one of those professional coaches cannot be anything but a wonderful assistance to the volunteers of the FINA Bureau.
(One should note that the same FINA Bureau, at the same meeting, approved a measure to include the selected chair of the FINA Athletes Commission as a member of the new Bureau, with voice but no vote. Why is an athlete approved, but a coach not?)
This leaves all of us, as professional coaches, in the powerful position of urging our federations to VOTE WITH THE FINA PRESIDENT in July and add a professional coach to the Bureau, alongside the athlete.
A more important principle also arises here: neither athletes nor coaches need their representative selected by the FINA Bureau. Athletes and coaches are fully mature enough to VOTE for their representatives on the ATHLETES and COACHES committees. My hope is that a number of nations will seek to amend the measure on the floor of the Congress to an ELECTION, rather than a SELECTION of representatives of the most important parts of our sport: our athletes and our coaches. Please, let’s make it so!
Let us work from now through July to persuade our respective national federations to VOTE WITH THE FINA PRESIDENT and put a coach on the FINA Bureau.
Nothing is more important to the future success of our sport.