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Swimmers hit world body FINA with Californian antitrust case

Three Olympic and world champion swimmers have filed an antitrust suit in California challenging governing body FINA's control of organizing competitions.

The legal action by Hungary's Katinka Hosszu and Americans Tom Shields and Michael Andrew follows Switzerland-based FINA shutting down an independent meet in Italy with threats to ban competitors.

The planned event in Turin involved organizers of a proposed International Swimming League (ISL), which aims to operate outside FINA's control and pay higher prize money.

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 file photo, United States' Tom Shields competes in a men's 100-meter butterfly semifinal during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three Olympic and world champion swimmers have filed an anti-trust suit in California challenging governing body FINA’s control of organizing competitions, it was announced Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The legal action by Hungarian great Katinka Hosszu and Americans Tom Shields and Michael Andrew follows Switzerland-based FINA shutting down an independent meet in Italy with threats to ban competitors. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner, file)

Lawyers in San Francisco say the swimmers "believe a professional league that will compensate its best athletes and better reward them for a lifetime's worth of hard training and sacrifice is long overdue."

The lawyers say ISL organizers filed a separate and simultaneous suit against FINA for "anticompetitive conduct."

It's the latest challenge to Olympic sports bodies by athletes seeking greater prize money and a voice in running their sport.

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018 file photo, U.S. swimmer Michael Andrew celebrates on the podium after winning the men's 50m freestyle final during the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Tokyo, . Three Olympic and world champion swimmers have filed an anti-trust suit in California challenging governing body FINA’s control of organizing competitions, it was announced Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The legal action by Hungarian great Katinka Hosszu and Americans Tom Shields and Michael Andrew follows Switzerland-based FINA shutting down an independent meet in Italy with threats to ban competitors. (AP PhotoKoji Sasahara, file)

In a similar case last year, Dutch speed skaters won a European Union ruling against the Swiss-based International Skating Union.

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