The NSF is the latest organisation to call for the LEN to hold elections ©NSF

The Nordic Swimming Federation (NSF) has warned the European Swimming League (LEN) its delay in calling elections "will only deepen the divide" within the sport.

The LEN has faced several calls to hold an Extraordinary Congress - where elections for the entire Bureau, including the President, would take place - after a group of members within the organisation raised concerns with the governing body's leadership.

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

A lack of transparency and confidence in leading officials had also been cited in the petition, tabled during the LEN Congress in Budapest in September.

But the LEN has so far refused to confirm whether the Congress will be held on February 5, leading to further criticism from the disgruntled members and the NSF.

In a statement, the nine-member NSF called on the LEN Bureau to implement "urgent actions" so that an Extraordinary Elective Congress can be held.

"The nine Member Federations of the Nordic Swimming Federation would like to issue this joint statement regarding the slow handling of the petition for an Extraordinary Congress that was presented during the proceedings of the LEN Congress on September 25, 2021 in Budapest," the NSF said. 

Paolo Barelli was re-elected LEN President last November ©Getty Images
Paolo Barelli was re-elected LEN President last November ©Getty Images

"It would have been well within reason and within the LEN Constitution for the LEN Bureau to resolve this situation quickly after having lost a de facto vote of no confidence in Budapest by calling for an Extraordinary Election Congress as requested in the petition. 

"Over a month has passed since the Congress and almost no information has been sent to the Member Federations of LEN. 

"A further delay in having an Extraordinary Congress will only deepen the divide in European Aquatics and will distract us from dealing with the important issues for the development of the aquatic sports in Europe." 

In response, LEN Bureau member Marco Stacchiotti said the dates "have not been determined yet, because this issue is still being worked out".

"As soon as it is resolved, then, probably, the answer will be in the coming days," he said, according to Russia's official state news agency TASS.

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.

Paolo 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.

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.