World Aquatics (WA), the international federation for water sports, is eyeing Budapest as a new location for its headquarters, pending approval by its congress.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said an agreement had been signed with WA President Husain Al-Musallam on the federation relocating its headquarters to Budapest from Lausanne, with the final unanimous decision on the move to be approved by the WA congress. Hungary is a key player when it comes to world swimming competitions, not only because Hungarian swimmers regularly win gold medals at world championships and the Olympics, but also because it was one of the eight founding members of the International Swimming Federation in 1908, the minister said. Hungary houses the headquarters of two international sports federations and there are ten United Nations organisations headquartered in the country as well, he said, adding that all of those organisations were satisfied with the conditions. “It will of course be a huge recognition for Hungary if the global headquarters of the international swimming federation moves here to Budapest,” Szijjártó said. The federation’s leaders want at least half of the HQ’s staff to be Hungarian, he added. WA’s relocation to Hungary will give a significant boost to sports tourism, the minister said.