ISL creates $11m lifeline for swimmers with condensed season two planned
The International Swimming League, the new club-based professional series, today announced plans for a "commercial tournament" later this year and a $11 million solidarity fund for contracted athletes, with the second season of the competition set to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter sent to the 320 athletes, the coaches and managers at the 10 teams, the ISL, founded and funded by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin, announced a solidarity programme in which each swimmer will receive a guaranteed $1,500 wage for 10 months between September and July next year, leading into the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games.
Some swimmers will receive $3,500 a month through bonuses related to their success and status in a package that provides $11 million in funding for swimmers: $6 million for wages and a further $5 million in prize money for a condensed ISL season two.
The ISL explained: "As part of our initiative, ISL will organise later in 2020 an innovative training and competition experience for athletes and coaches for a duration of 4-5 weeks. We propose to host all athletes in one location in a world-class facility and cover all associated expenses. All athletes involved will have the opportunity to be accompanied by their home coach.
"During this period, scheduled from 14 October to 17 November, ISL will organise a commercial tournament in its revolutionary club format and add an exciting new reality concept to the production.
"The global exposure of this event will furthermore enhance the athletes’ profiles and increase the popularity of our sport. We strongly believe that this event, never before seen in swimming history, will serve as a demonstration of solidarity, humanity and unity of the swimming community to the entire world."Season one of the ISL took place between early October and late December 2019, with meets staged in Indianapolis, Texas and Maryland in USA, Naples in Italy, Budapest in Hungary and London in the UK, before the championship event in Las Vegas, USA.
The ISL said it hopes the solidarity programme will "assist the swimmers during these challenging times to prepare for major events in 2021 and a full ISL season in 2021/22," adding: "We strongly believe that the International Swimming League is the future of competitive swimming, and our programme for 2020-2021 takes into consideration feedback from our athletes and coaches and respects the need for a full training preparation before summer 2021."