Josip Varvodic is aiming to become vice-president of the European Swimming League ©Europe 4 All Aquatics

Croatia's Josip Varvodic has criticised the "unacceptable" leadership of the European Swimming League (LEN) as he launches a bid to become the new vice-president of the organisation.

Varvodic represents the Croatian Swimming Federation which was among a group of disgruntled LEN members that issued a vote of no confidence in September against the continental body’s President Paolo Barelli and Bureau.

An election is due to be held in German city Frankfurt on February 5 after an Extraordinary Congress was called to dismiss those in charge of the LEN.

Last month, Portugal's António José Silva announced that he would be running for the LEN Presidency on behalf of a movement called "Europe 4 All Aquatics".

Varvodic has offered the Portuguese Swimming Federation President his full support and hopes to work alongside him as vice-president of the LEN.

"I am proud to be part of a team whose captain is Antonio who believe in democratic principles and will, in good faith, work to support ALL federations and ALL the aquatic disciplines in a new era for our sport," Varvodic wrote in a letter where he announced his candidature.

"The election on February 5 is not about narrow individual interests but about selecting a team who share a vision and are ready to work on your behalf.

"I am determined to put into practice the E4AA campaign of Unity in Vision. 

"If we work together, and have your continued support, we will be unstoppable."

Criticism of the LEN centres around financial problems within the organisation, with a lack of transparency and confidence in leading officials also cited.

Varvodic said the vote of no confidence was a "collective complaint against a system of governance and leadership at LEN that has become unacceptable to the majority".

He said it was important stand up against the lack of integrity, transparency and good governance.

"We all agree that LEN has spent too much money and energy on trying to become a rival and enemy of FINA [International Swimming Federation], rather than a responsible partner for the good of the sports," said Varvodic.

"We deserve better communications on important subjects such as financial reports, sport-driven projects, structure and function of LEN office, minutes and reports of work done by the Executive Board.

"We also believe that different opinions and debates should not be seen as threats that need to be crushed without pity.

"On the contrary, they should be reinforced."

Varvodic said Europe 4 All Aquatics was putting together a "first 100-day action plan" and manifesto which is set to be released this month.

His father, Ivan Varvodic, was President of the Croatian Swimming Federation between 1992 and 2007 and was a LEN Bureau member for two terms.

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 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 Gyárfá 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.

insidethegames has contacted the LEN for comment.