LONDON: A new professional swimming event scheduled for Turin in December has been cancelled after world body FINA threatened sanctions against those taking part, the Italian federation said on Thursday.
The swimswam.com website reported that organisers of the meet had failed to give FINA the required six months notice for international events. There was no immediate response from FINA to a Reuters request for comment.
The Italian federation FIN said FINA had declared the Dec. 20-21 Energy for Swim meet to be "non approved", despite it being organised by the national sporting body and city authorities.
FIN, in a statement, accused FINA of "threatening sanctions against the participating athletes" and said it had been forced to cancel the International Swimming League (ISL) event to protect them.
Britain's Olympic breaststroke champion Adam Peaty was among those scheduled to take part, despite running the potential risk of being banned from next year's world championships.
"I believe in the concept, it's what the sport needs," the 23-year-old had told the BBC last week. "I'm looking forward to racing in Turin. I want to show my support."
Peaty said on Instagram on Thursday that he was "incredibly disappointed" by the outcome, which he blamed on 'politics'.
"As swimmers who represent our country and are passionate about our sport, we need to ask why," he added.
"I firmly believe that the athletes should be at the heart of any decision made by our governing body and this is just what our sport and the athletes need. I think this is the wrong decision and it will galvanise the swimmers, not break them."
The BBC quoted FIN president Paolo Barelli telling athletes in an open letter that the refusal to sanction the event could be a breach of European competition law.
"FIN can only assume that Fina's true motive is to safeguard its dominant position as the sole and exclusive licence holder of aquatics sports," it quoted him as saying.
(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)