LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Swimming's governing body wants to give Michael Phelps a special invitation to race at the world championships.

The 18-time Olympic champion was suspended by USA Swimming from the Aug. 2-9 meet in Kazan, Russia, after a second drunken driving arrest last year.

However, FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu tells the Associated Press it would be "no problem for us" to offer Phelps an extra place.

Marculescu says "we may give him another status because he's the greatest athlete (in) history."

The FINA official says he has not discussed Phelps' status with the U.S. team.

Phelps said Wednesday it was "painful" to miss the worlds, but he did not want to displace a swimmer who earned selection in his absence.

He planned to compete instead at American nationals from Aug. 4-8 in San Antonio, Texas.

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