CAS dismisses PSI appeal against World Aquatics

By Jean Malanum

February 3, 2023, 5:48 pm

MANILA – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal of the Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) for a stay of execution of World Aquatics’ (formerly FINA) decision to withdraw its recognition of the national sports association and the creation of the Stabilization Committee to supervise swimming in the country.

The CAS is an international body formed in 1984 to settle disputes related to sports through arbitration.

The dismissal of the PSI appeal was stated in a 16-page letter dated Feb. 2, 2023, and signed by Dr. Elisabeth Steiner, Deputy President of the CAS Appeals Arbitration Division.

“The request for a stay of execution of the decision rendered by the FINA Bureau on 3 and 15 December 2022 filed by the Philippine Swimming Inc. on 20 December 2022 and supplemented on 12 and 19 January 2023 in the matter CAS/2022/9351 Philippine Swimming Inc. v. World Aquatics (formerly known as Federacion Internationale de Natation [FINA]), is dismissed,” the CAS document said.

Following the dismissal of the appeal, the CAS has affirmed the World Aquatics’ order for the establishment of the Stabilization Committee, composed of lawyer Wharton Chan, Valeriano “Bones” Floro, and Arrey Perez, that will run the swimming national sports association.

“This reaffirms the world swimming body’s order for us in the Stabilization Committee to continue with our task, which, among others, include handling the day-to-day affairs of the swimming NSA, draft its new by-laws and recommend for the holding of elections of its board of trustees,” Chan said in a press release distributed to the media on Friday.

He said the Stabilization Committee's top priority is the staging of qualifying tournaments to select the members of the national team for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games scheduled in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from May 5 to 17.

The Stabilization Committee had earlier announced the holding of open tryouts for the national teams for swimming, diving, and water polo at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac on Feb. 18 and 19.

The PSI, through its legal counsel Poblador, Bautista and Reyes Law Office, filed a request with the CAS against the World Aquatics for a delay in the execution of the international federation’s instruction on the creation of the Stabilization Committee and the withdrawal of recognition of the NSA’s board of trustees and its recognition as a FINA member.

The PSI’s lawyers reiterated association president Lailani Velasco’s request that they should have been informed of the nature and cause of the complaints that prompted the FINA Bureau to withdraw its recognition of the group. (PNA)