On December 16, aÂ San Francisco court ruled that theÂ FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de NatationÂ (FINA), the body based in Lausanne, Switzerland,Â that governs Olympic swimming, has to answer toÂ allegations that it has been operating an illegal monopoly, in part by financially punishing athletes who want to compete in events that it doesnâ€™t recognize or control.
The judgment came after a year of hearings in a suit jointly filed by theÂ International Swimming LeagueÂ (ISL), a new global swimming competition, and three champion swimmers pursuing a class-action suit against FINA, a subsidiary of theÂ International Olympic CommitteeÂ (IOC). The swimmers are U.S. Olympic butterflyerÂ Tom Shields, U.S. world-champion individual-medley swimmer Michael Andrew, and multiple gold medalistÂ Katinka HosszÃº, from Hungary.
Denying FINAâ€™s attempt to dismiss the case and keep sealed internal communications disclosed during the discovery process, San Francisco District Court magistrate judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled that, in their attempt to show that FINA was operating â€œa global anti-trust conspiracyâ€¦ the plaintiffs have satisfied their burden of making a prima facieâ€ case. The court will hold an initial case-management conference toÂ determine theÂ next stepsÂ in mid-January 2020.