Swimming-Australia eyes governance reforms after World Aquatics expulsion threat

(Reuters) - Swimming Australia will hold a vote on Oct. 20 on adopting a new constitution to give athletes and coaches a bigger voice after it was faced with the threat of expulsion from global body World Aquatics ahead of next year's Olympic Games in Paris.

The reforms in the constitution will align Swimming Australia's governance with the requirements of World Aquatics and the International Olympic Committee.

"These changes are aimed at our members and bringing much needed - and called for - change and stability to how our sport is governed," Swimming Australia President Michelle Gallen said in a statement.

Australia are among the strongest swimming nations in the world and topped the gold medal tally at the world championships in Japan last month.

"The changes will ensure the sport's administration and governance is of a world-class standard and will strengthen the voice of athletes and coaches," Gallen said.

"The message from the governing body is abundantly clear. If we don't make these necessary changes, then our standing in the sport is in jeopardy."

World Aquatics said it had endorsed the new constitution after being consulted during the process of its development.

"World Aquatics welcomes the changes to the Swimming Australia constitution, which will give more power to athletes and a voice on the board, while also delivering a broader voting base more closely connected to athletes and coaches," said World Aquatics Executive Director Brent Nowicki.

"The changes will also allow for a modernised governance structure that aligns with the sport's requirements as a member of World Aquatics."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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