The International Swimming Federation is to be renamed World Aquatics ©FINA

The International Swimming Federation is to be renamed World Aquatics as part of a new constitution that was approved at the organisation's Extraordinary General Congress here.

The new constitution that is expected to come into force in January next year was overwhelmely approved at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, with 175 members voting in favour and four rejecting it.

Other changes to the constitution include increasing the number of Bureau members with female representation rising to 38 per cent, and introducing of a new term and age limits for the President.

FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said the approval of the new constition and name change was the "most significant" moment during his leadership.

American digital marketing firm Martin Group was tasked with coming up with the rebanding of the organisation with the new logo expected to be unveiled later this evening.

A series of different names for the 114-year-old governing body for aquatics sport was presented to athletes, coaches administrators  with World Aquatics coming "clearly on top" according to Al-Musallam.

"It is a name that is easy to understand and keeps us in line with other International Federations and will represent our our athletes," said Al-Musallam.

An overwhelming number of FINA members vote in favour of the name change and nrew constitution ©FINA
An overwhelming number of FINA members vote in favour of the name change and nrew constitution ©FINA

The possibility of changing the name of the organisation was among a series of recommendations made by FINA’s Reform Committee.

"None of us can remember our International Federation called anything other than FINA," said Al-Musallam.

"It is a name that has served us well.

"We need a name that reflects the whole FINA family and a name that can be used by our artistic swimmers, divers, high divers, open water swimmers and water polo athletes.

"Our athletes must come first so I would never make a big decision like this without consulting them.

"Their response has been very clear. 

"More than 70 per cent of the athletes that we have spoken to have said that they would like us to change FINA's name.

"Many of them could not even tell us what the letters for FINA stand for.

"We have spoken to people in every part of the FINA family including many people in this room today.

"It is important that you all have a voice in a decision like this.

"I can tell you that there is a strong feeling that we should change our name.

"FINA is our past and we should look back on much of the past with pride and effection, but our future must begin here today."

One of the other key changes to the constitution is the expansion of the FINA Bureau with nine women set to be elected onto the ruling body.

"I am delighted that the larger Bureau will have more guarenteed places for women," said Al-Musallam.

"The new Bureau will be roughly 38 per cent female.

"This is a big and very significant step forward for us.

"Of course, there is still much more that we can do.

"Our target must be 50-50 split but today this will take us much closer to that."

FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said all aquatic sports would be
FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said all aquatic sports would be "united" by the new name of the 114-year-old organisation ©FINA Aquatics

The number of committees is also set to be reduced, while a Business and Investment Committee and Remuneration Committee are expected to be launched.

Under the new constitution, the next President of World Aquatics will have serve two terms in office, with the first running for eight years followed by a second for four years.

The age limit of 75 years old for the head of the organisation has also been agreed. 

Michael Bernasconi, chair of the FINA Reform Committee, said the new term limits would create "stability" at the International Federation after receiving a letter criticising the proposal by the Nordic Swimming Federation.

"I think it is absolutely important that the President has a term of office in line with the Olympic charter," said Bernasconi.

"In my 28 years of working wth International Federation, I have seen several not profiting by the campaign models that exist if the President needs to be re-elected every three or four years.

"A federation needs stability in order to move on with reforms.

"You cannot do reforms if you do not have stability.

"It's a completely wrong idea that if you change the chair you will have a better organisation."

Other constitutional changes include the ability for all 20 elected members of the FINA Athletes' Committee to vote at the organisation's Congresses and the establishment of the Aquatics Integrity Unit from January next year.

The creation of the Aquatics Integrity Unit was approved at the Extraordinary General Congress last year before 24 officials were elected in June.