FINA President Husain Al-Musallam, left, praised Swimming Australia chief executive Eugénie Buckley, right ©FINA

International Swimming Federation (FINA) President Husain Al-Musallam has heaped praised on organisers here for stepping into the breach after Russian city Kazan was stripped of the hosting rights for this year’s World Swimming Championships (25m).

Kazan was announced as the host city for the 2022 edition in 2017 but was ditched by FINA in March in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

After a two-month search, FINA confirmed Melbourne as Kazan's replacement leaving Australian organisers seven months to prepare for the event.

Melbourne is now set to stage its first flagship FINA event since holding the 2007 World Aquatics Championships.

"We suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to recover from that, then we have the war in Ukraine so we had to find a solution," said Al-Musallam.

"In 2007, FINA was here and I came here as a FINA Bureau member so I know the capability of Swimming Australia and the city of Melbourne.

"We then entered discussions.

"I know that it was not easy for them, but we had full confidence because of their history of how they manage and organise events such as the FINA World Championships."

Swimmers from 160 nations are expected to line up across 46 events over six days of action, with competition due to run from December 13 to 18 at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Among the star names set to do battle include David Popovici of Romania and home favourite Kyle Chalmers as well as Canada’s Maggie MacNeil and Kylie Masse, Britain’s Adam Peaty and South Africa’s Chad le Clos.

"It is wonderful to be here in Australia after so many years as we know Australia is an aquatics nation and a place where our athletes will compete against the best," said Al-Musallam.

"I would like to thank Swimming Australia for putting all this together at short notice and the Victoria state and Visit Victoria for your hard work and good coordination with the Organising Committee.

"I would like to thank everybody that contributed to put this World Swimming Championships on in Melbourne.

"We informed you about the change in venue and I am happy you helped us.

"This is solidarity, unity and family at work."

FINA executive director Brent Nowicki spoke of his determination to ensure a
FINA executive director Brent Nowicki spoke of his determination to ensure a "settled" calendar of events next year ©FINA

This year also saw Kazan stripped of staging the World Junior Swimming Championships with Peruvian capital Lima stepping in as the replacement, and Fukuoka losing the rights to hold the World Aquatics Championships as Budapest in Hungary took the place of the Japanese city.

Brent Nowicki, executive director of FINA, admitted it had been a "tough run" but said he was hopeful of a settled competition scheduled next year.

"We saw what the team were able to do in Budapest and similarly here," said Nowicki.

"It’s not easy for the staff that tirelessly put in the time for putting these events on.

"It’s not easy for the Organising Committee to put their hand up knowing what they are facing but they do it admirably with great collaboration so we are grateful for them.

"It’s been a very busy year for us and even busier for the athletes that have been pulled left and right but they have done it with great smiles.

"We can only hope that we can have a more settled calendar with settled events.

"It’s not an easy task.

"This will be a culmination of a great year with everybody adjusting to what has been a difficult calendar and everyone working together to be able to create opportunities for everybody."