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Singapore Swimming Association seeking legal advice, may pursue class action suit against firms causing haze

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has announced that it is seeking legal advice and may consider joining a class action suit against Singapore-linked companies that are involved in the burning of forests in Indonesia.

Singapore Swimming Association seeking legal advice, may pursue class action suit against firms causing haze

Top swimmers at this year's FINA/airweave World Cup leg in Singapore include Hungary's Katinka Hosszu who posted a photo of her wearing a mask as the haze worsens in Singapore. Photo: Katinka Hosszu/Facebook

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has announced that it is seeking legal advice and may consider joining a class action suit against Singapore-linked companies that are involved in the burning of forests in Indonesia.

The national sports association announced this after rising Pollutant Standards Index levels caused today's (Oct 3) evening session of the FINA/airweave World Cup Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre to be cancelled.

The decision to scrap the session was made at 4pm after the PSI level hit 190, just below the very unhealthy range of 201-300.

The event’s organising committee said that it made the decision to protect the health of the swimmers, staff, volunteers and officials.

It added that it will make refunds to ticket-paying spectators but is also adopting a wait-and-see approach for tomorrow’s morning heats and evening finals.

However, in a hard-hitting statement issued at 830pm tonight, the SSA not only expressed deep disappointment and regret at the troubles caused by the haze, saying that it has wasted the efforts of all involved in the meet beyond measurement.

It also said it is thinking of going after Singapore-linked companies that are found to be involved in the plantation burnings in Indonesia that are causing the smog that is currently blanketing the region.

Said SSA vice-president (finance) Jose Raymond: “The haze caused by the raging fires in Indonesia not only poses a threat to our health but it also destroys the months of hard work put into preparing for programmes and events like the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup Singapore 2015 presented by Yakult which was to be held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre this evening.

“The investment put into the event, through sponsors, time spent by our staff and volunteers, and the effort taken by athletes and officials to travel to Singapore have been wasted beyond measurement. The Singapore Swimming Association, along with FINA deeply regrets canceling day one of the finals.”

“On our part, the SSA will seek legal advice and may consider joining other parties and individuals in any class action suit which is brought against any Singapore-listed company which is linked to the burning of forests in Indonesia which is now causing one of the worst haze episodes to affect the region and in particular Singapore.”

Raymond was the former chief executive of the Singapore Environment Council. He is presently the Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Management at the Singapore Sports Hub.

The Singapore leg is the fifth stop of the eight-leg FINA World Cup.

A total of 262 international swimmers have been pencilled into the meet including world-class athletes like American swimmer Missy Franklin, who has four Olympic gold medals, South Africa’s Cameron Van Der Burgh who won the men’s 100m breaststroke at the 2012 London Olympics and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who holds multiple world records.

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