Pro Recco withdraws from European club competitions participation
Newly title-holders for both the Champions League (men) and Champions Cup (women), Pro Recco from Italy, have announced that the club will not participate in the European club competitions next season. The statement was made by recently appointed CEO Angiolino Barreca and published on the club's website on Wednesday. Reason for this news was a disagreement between the club of Pro Recco and the Italian Swimming Federation FIN about a proposal from the Federation to cut the maximum number of non-Italian players in the league back to one. It was two the past season and has been one in the women's league already.
The rule of a maximum of non-Italian players was introduced way before but has been reduced since. From three to two for men and just one of for women already. The plan from the FIN was to cut the maximum number of non-Italian players per team in the Italian league to one as well for the upcoming season.
The FIN restrictions however have been judged as irreguar by the European Union, who have stated that regardless of the non-professional status of waterpolo players in Italy no limit can be set for EU-players in the league. But the FIN have implemented the rule before and are thus not complying, of course being in charge of the league and its rules. As a matter of fact, most other Italian league clubs already agreed with the cut to just one non-Italian player per team for next season but Pro Recco obviously did not. They remained with their opinion that the rule is illegal and refused to sign the engagement letter for next season. This matter prooved to be one of the major reasons for former Pro Recco president Gabrielle Volpi to resign from his position.
Pro Recco president resigns
All followed by the statement, released today, that Pro Recco will not participate in the European club competitions next season as recently appointed CEO Angiolino Barreca explained. The most important reason for the decision, according to the statement, is the fact that FIN have not ruled on the non-Italian players matter, although the deadline imposed by the European Union was May 26 and Recco attended a meeting on July 2nd in which the topic was discussed but no final decision was made up until today. The unclear situation leads to Pro Recco being not able to fill in the registration forms for the competitions for next season ultimately leading to the withdrawal.
Original statement available at: www.prorecco.it
The Italian Swimming Federation was not quiet though. After learning from the dissatisfaction by Pro Recco in various Italian media in the days leading up to Volpi's announcement to resigning, the Federation issued a statement about the situation on Tuesday - before Recco announced the withdrawal - stating they regret the situation and the words expressed by the club in the media. In their opinion Pro Recco had not expressed such dissatisfaction the previous years and has had many changes to constructively discuss the topic with the Federation and other clubs in the previous meetings but did not, or not enough emphasizing that the Federation is more than willing and open to the dialogue, in full compliance with all other clubs.
A reaction from either FIN or LEN regarding the matter is still to be announced.
Original statement from FIN from July 17, available here