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TYR Accuses FINA Of Failure And Inconsistency

Jun 25, 2009  - Craig Lord

TYR this evening has issued a statement that warns FINA that it has not only gone beyond the boundaries of the Dubai Charter and helped to create an unlevel playing field in the race pool but has risked having the world championships in Rome next month boycotted by leading athletes and failed to provide clarity for the sport.

After SwimNews reported today that the reason why FINA differentiated between the Jaked01, back in unmodified, and some similar suits made by TYR, arena and Descente was because Jaked brought a scientist along to Lausanne last week and "proved" there and then that its suit did not "trap air". Arena also provided a fair amount of scientific proof, as detailed here.

Now TYR says this:

Huntington Beach, California - June 25, 2009 – Based upon the declaration issued by the FINA Executive on June 22, 2009, TYR is content with the inclusion of 37 swimsuits on the official “FINA 2009 Revised List of Approved Swimsuits.”

Among these technologies immediately available for use are Tracer Light, Tracer Rise, Tracer A7, Fusion, and Sayonara. We are looking forward to their success at the upcoming World Championships in Rome.

However, TYR has had additional suits rejected by FINA that consisted of similar fabrics and are engineered similarly to those by other manufacturers that received approval. These suits from TYR were submitted specifically to maintain fairness to our athletes on the possibility that those definitive technologies were approved. TYR was not provided any reasoning from FINA, or testing results, as to why our technologies of equal development were not approved while others were passed based upon no modifications (as previously requested from FINA). 

Our understanding now is that certain manufacturer’s were allowed the ability to “submit arguments” defending their suits. This does not comply with the Dubai Charter which distinctively asserted “FINA has established its own independent control/testing program.” Why has the burden now been placed upon the manufacturer to persuade FINA when they have already secured their own protocol?  

TYR has continuously followed the guidelines set forth by FINA, as well as, the spirit intended by the “Dubai Charter” established in March. The Charter stated that, “FINA brings together athletes from around the world to compete on equal conditions,” but at this time it is simply not the case. TYR, our athletes, our federations, and our coaches are being placed at a disadvantage for our compliance.

In the interests of our athletes and federations, our counsel has formally requested, from FINA, the testing results of those specific manufacturer’s suits and the testing results of the similar TYR suits that were not approved.

This revised ruling prevents our athletes from having access to our comparable technologies that TYR has developed and are similar, or the same, to those approved by others. Not only does this create an unlevel playing field, it also presents the possibility of athletes choosing not to compete in international competition until there is clarity. This would be an unfortunate detriment to our sport.

FINA claimed, in the Dubai Charter, that the Bureau would “revise the requirements for swimsuit approval with the aim of making them more clear, simple and transparent.” They have failed measurably in this regard.

Again, in the best interest of the sport, and for the basis of clarification on FINA’s own guidelines, TYR has requested a response from FINA by Friday, June 26th. If sufficient correspondence has not been met, TYR will pursue appropriate legal remedy at that time.