The LEN has been urged to confirm plans for an Extraordinary Congress in February ©LEN

A group of 25 Member Federations of the European Swimming League (LEN) have stepped up their calls for the embattled continental body to hold elections in February after claiming a petition to stage an Extraordinary Congress has been ignored.

In a letter to LEN President Paolo Barelli and general secretary David Sparkes, the countries have urged the leadership to confirm the election process and nomination deadlines.

They claim their calls for elections to take place have not been "thoroughly reflected and explained" by the LEN in its recent announcements.

The group want the entire LEN Bureau, including Barelli, to face re-election at the meeting after raising concerns with the leadership.

It had been claimed that the LEN was set to hold an Extraordinary Congress in February in the initial petition from the Movement, Europe for All group, which followed criticism from its members centred on a financial problems within the organisation.

A lack of transparency and confidence in leading officials had also been cited.

In a statement following the petition, the LEN said it had received the document and it was "currently being assessed by the legal department in accordance with the LEN regulations and Swiss law".

The group of 25 disgruntled members claims to have not been given any further correspondence by the LEN.

"We kindly ask you to inform us regarding procedures for the nomination of the candidates for the elections to be carried out at the requested LEN Extraordinary Congress," the group wrote.

A total of 25 of LEN's members signed the latest letter to the leadership of the embattled continental body ©ITG
A total of 25 of LEN's members signed the latest letter to the leadership of the embattled continental body ©ITG

"We hereby respectfully ask you to publicly announce the Extraordinary Congress as requested."

Police in Switzerland seized documents during a raid on the LEN offices in Nyon in March as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged financial irregularities and improper conduct against LEN officials.

Barelli, re-elected LEN President last November, and Sparkes held their current roles with the European body at the time of the alleged events.

Tamás Gyárfás, who is also a former head of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, was LEN treasurer at the time.

Barelli, Sparkes and Gyárfás, were reported to European authorities in 2020 over allegedly authorising six-figure payments to third-party companies over a period of five years.

They deny wrongdoing.

"Some false accusations on the administration of LEN have been circulated," the LEN said in its most recent statement.

"Such accusations have repeatedly been rejected by LEN, by the members of the Bureau as well as by an independent third party auditor.

"LEN and its Bureau members are convinced of its good administration and governance and will continue to work for the good and interests of LEN and its Federations.

"LEN reserve all liability actions against the promoters of the accusations in order to protect LEN’s image and integrity."

The division within European swimming could pose a headache for newly-elected FINA President Husain Al-Musallam.

The Kuwaiti official was elected in June and vowed to pursue a reform agenda after succeeding long-standing predecessor Julio Maglione, who defeated Barelli to secure what proved to be his final term in office following a bitter campaign with the Italian.