Celine Brasseur Ducros

Organising and perpetuating a FINA World Cup Open Water Event in New Caledonia (South Pacific) – French Swimming Federation

This study exposes the reasons that led to considering the organization a FINA World Cup stage of open water in New Caledonia. It presents the work carried out in order to identify the obstacles and constraints of this project, the solutions and proposals implemented, in order to allow the organization of such an international event, and to sustain it.

The institutional and geographical context has a singular and decisive impact on this project. The FFN has supported the candidature at FINA, but the organization is totally delegated to the Caledonian Swimming League, a regional representation of the FFN on this French ultra-marine territory (250,000 inhabitants in the heart of the Pacific South).

The initial prerequisite therefore identifies :

·                    A discipline where France shines internationally at the highest level (OG, WC, EC),

·                    An absence of a policy of development of the discipline in New Caledonia, in spite of an exceptional geographical and marine environment and conducive to the practice,

·                    A strong local culture for water sports.

·                    A geographical remoteness from the metropolis, with a lack of dynamism, will and material and financial resources on the continent of the Pacific, outside Australia and New Zealand.

The arrival of a new management team at the end of 2012 at the head of the Caledonian Swimming League offered a new context for quadripartite collaboration between the FFN, FINA (in search of a open water event in the Pacific), the Oceania Swimming Federation (OSA) and itself.

At the same time, the renewal of the administrative, institutional and financial functioning of the Caledonian Swimming League made it possible to convince the different Caledonian skateholders of the interest of the project, and to find the necessary private and public funding for the event.

Training of officials and volunteers on the one hand, the organization of a general public event on the sidelines of the international sporting event, on the other hand, have also emerged as key levers for the success of this first edition in April 2015.

Unfortunately, in spite of medium-term investments made – both material and logistical – a change of management team locally at the end of 2015 called into question and then canceled the renewal of the event, neglecting the determination of the FFN and the proven support of FINA.

The ignorance of the global context, the lack of ambition and skills of the new leaders, the lack of understanding of the medium-term strategy, stopped the development and opening-up of Caledonian and Oceanic swimming.

New and regrettable demonstration that the governing bodies of sports bodies, whatever their size, deserve people invested and trained.

Organizing French Swimming Federation

This study draws up an inventory of the organization and functioning of the governance of the French Swimming Federation (FFN).

It explains the reasons for a necessary change in this functioning at the end of an unparalleled climax in terms of performance in swimming and open water, marked by recognized federal dynamism, but also by a lack of renewal and aging of these leaders.

On the eve of post-Olympic elections, a internal and external crisis of confidence was established, amplified and crystallized through the wish of the current president to represent himself for a seventh consecutive term (!),and that of his second to take away his crown since a long time …

The current system of governance does not benefit from an enlarged electoral body, but instead has been reduced from 75 to 45 members (!) during the last vote in October 2016 (with a drop in parity). The prospect of healthy renewal and real representativeness thus seems futile in the face of a well-anchored in-house and clientelism.

Therefore, the necessary reform of the governance of the French Swimming Federation seems to be suspended only by a deep internal challenge by its base (licensed, clubs) or external by its institutional and financial partners (State, partners).

This being said, the analysis of the current context and dysfunctions reveals the need to implement unavoidable reforms :

  • Reflective and concerted statutory reform
    • Expand the electoral body of delegates to the GA
    • Promote the renewal of elected officials
    • Reform the voting system
    • Reforming the governing bodies
    • Limit the number of successive mandates to the same functions
    • Limit the cumulation of local and national mandates
    • Establish parity within national, regional and departmental bodies
    • Establish an age limit for national mandates
  • Establishment of training for all elected officials and a prerequisite for training for national elected representatives
  • Establishment of a charter of ethics and integrity
  • Implementation of a concerted feminization plan

These new provisions must allow the emergence of a new governance in which the sharing of a project and its values, the setting of objectives and means to achieve them, must prevail and erase individual interests.

In view of the centenary of its creation in 2020, the French Swimming Federation has the opportunity to embark on a new era of governance, strong in its history, its successes and the diversity of its practices, in full consultation with all Its actors.

The necessary evolution of the French Swimming Federation towards greater autonomy and a more diversified economic model can only be initiated on the basis of a new shared culture of power.

Subsequently, the French Swimming Federation, and beyond the French sports movement as a whole, must collectively agree to become an influential force of proposals to the State in order to bring about a necessary reform of the Sport Concerning the governance of sports federations.

French Swimming Federation
125, chemin de Hauteville – 84100 UCHAUX – FRANCE