Turkey Bans Olympiad Arbiters of Seven Countries

Turkey Bans Olympiad Arbiters of Seven Countries

SonofPearl
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  • Chess politics

The Chess Olympiad is a huge biennial celebration of chess, with national teams from virtually every country in the world participating.

Sadly, it as also frequently a magnet for controversies, and the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Turkey has followed this unfortunate tradition before the competition has even begun.

The president of the Turkish Chess Federation Ali Nihat Yazici (pictured) has published an open letter stating that arbiters from 7 countries will not be welcome in Istanbul for the 40th Olympiad scheduled for 27 August - 10 September.

It appears that the countries concerned are those that are involved in either one of two recent legal actions against FIDE.  The countries are:

  • England
  • Georgia
  • United States of America
  • Germany
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine

The Turkish Chess Federation letter, and a response from the English Chess Federation is below..

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Dear Chess Family,

I was invited by FIDE to participate in the meeting in Athens to select the arbiters for the 40th Chess Olympiad. I went to the meeting on 3rd May 2012. A list was drawn up, respecting the proposals of the Continental Presidents. However, on behalf of TSF, we have refused to accept some of the names on that list. These refusals are in no way personal, they are solely related to matters of chess and its well-being.

Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE. As TSF we respect legal issues; all players will be protected, whatever the actions of their federation.

I want everybody to look at this from our point of view. Each year, my federation contributes to FIDE €50-100,000. The damage created by the Karpov versus FIDE case is around USD 1 million. The case was purely political. The plaintiffs lost that court case. They did not even offer an apology for the damage their action inflicted on a large majority of national chess federations!

The federations that supported that action have done nothing for chess but damage FIDE financially, forcibly diverting resources that would otherwise have been used for chess development (CACDEC, chess in schools, marketing, trainers, etc.).

Therefore, as TSF we react as a federation that has suffered from the actions of those 7 federations. We work hard, doing our best for chess, while some contribute only “bla, bla” and do nothing but damage our family.

Should we be quiet and cross our fingers that they will learn? Or should we act?

We prefer to act and fight for our chess family. That is our position and the reasoning behind our decision.

Gens Una Sumus
Ali Nihat YAZICI
President of Turkish Chess Federation

ECF logo.jpg

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to register a formal protest at the actions of the Turkish Chess Federation (TCF) in its selection of the arbiters to officiate at the 40th Chess Olympiad, as set out in the open letter from the TCF President, Mr Ali Nihat Yazici, published on the FIDE website. In this letter, Mr Yazici states:

"A list was drawn up, respecting the proposals of the Continental Presidents. However, on behalf of TSF, we have refused to accept some of the names on that list. These refusals are in no way personal, they are solely related to matters of chess and its well-being.

"Some federations launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development. We believe that the damage that they thus inflicted on chess development around the world should be repaired by them reimbursing the lost funds, so that those funds can, as originally budgeted, be spent on chess development. We further believe that until that has been done, those federations should not be given any arbiter or Appeals Committee position by FIDE."

The letter goes on to refer to seven (unnamed) federations, which from the context must mean the five federations which took legal action against FIDE in 2010 (France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA) plus the two federations who have an ongoing action against FIDE in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Georgia and England).

It should be noted that Mr Yazici is himself one of the Vice Presidents of FIDE whose appointment is under challenge in the ongoing legal action.

In admitting to the exclusion of individuals from the role of arbiter on this basis, the TCF President is in breach of FIDE Statute 1.2, which states:

"FIDE is concerned exclusively with chess activities. FIDE is democratically established and bases itself on the principles of equal rights of its members. FIDE is a non profit making organisation.

"It rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender."

It is also in violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics, article 2.2.3, which refers to:

"Organizers, tournament directors, arbiters or other officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner."

The open letter from Mr Yazici acknowledges that nominated individuals from seven federations were excluded because of legal action taken by those federations against FIDE. This is irrelevant to the selection of the Olympiad arbiters and cannot be considered anything other than a discriminatory political act.

As the Olympiad is an official FIDE event, the organisers have a clear duty to adhere to the FIDE Statutes and FIDE Code of Ethics. We are formally requesting that the Presidential Board and Ethics Commission consider this matter urgently and demand that the Turkish Chess Federation reconsider its appointments, this time in an impartial and non-discriminatory fashion.

Please confirm receipt of this message.

Yours faithfully,

English Chess Federation

This letter is supported by the following FIDE members, listed in alphabetical order:

  • French Chess Federation
  • German Chess Federation
  • Swiss Chess Federation
  • Ukrainian Chess Federation
  • United States Chess Federation

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