Bulgarian Chess Federation Bans Whistleblowers, Danailov To Run For FIDE President

Bulgarian Chess Federation Bans Whistleblowers, Danailov To Run For FIDE President

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jun 8, 2015, 12:00 AM |
38 | Chess Politics

Last Friday, the Bulgarian Chess Federation banned the three whistleblowers who recently accused the federation of fraud and corruption. Its president, Silvio Danailov, will run for FIDE President in 2018. 

Last Thursday, Chess.com reported on a recent press conference where the Bulgarian Chess Federation was accused of fraud and corruption by GM Kiril Georgiev, Metodi Stoinev and Simeon Stoichkov. On Friday, during a management board meeting, all three were banned from the federation.

The board meeting took place at Hotel Glarus in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, where at the same time the Bulgarian Team Championship was taking place. Although not part of the original agenda, the accusations made at the press conference formed an important topic.

The board fully supported its president, Silvio Danailov, and decided to ban the three whistleblowers, as can be read on the BCF website

In connection with public, deliberate, targeted and coordinated actions and statements of the persons Metodi Stoinev, Kiril Georgiev and Simeon Stoichkov, aimed at undermining the prestige of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, sabotage of its activity and discredit its leadership, by placing in the public domain false, unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations of corruption and abuse (at a press conference in the Press Club BTA 05.28.2015, the social networks, etc.), as well as undermining the authority through slander and lies, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and those working in professional circles, the BCF determined their actions inadmissible, extremely objectionable and in violation of the statutes and the code of ethics of the federation.

The ban means that in the coming years Georgiev, Stoinev and Stoichkov cannot play competitive chess in their native country, including the championship of Bulgaria, the team championship and open tournaments. They also cannot act as arbiters, trainers or organizers of events.

Kiril Georgiev: banned from playing chess in Bulgaria. | Photo Wikipedia.

Kiril Georgiev and Metodi Stoinev were banned for three years, and Simeon Stoichkov for five. The latter had been penalized earlier for similar matters. The BCF board based its reasoning on an audit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which had found no violations over the years 2011 and 2012. 

The accusations of Georgiev, Stoinev and Stoichkov were based on data from another governmental agency: the National Agency for Financial Inspection. The organization regularly checks the finances of many sports federations in Bulgaria. 

“We requested the information, since the federation would not provide it,” GM Kiril Georgiev told Chess.com. “But it is public information; everybody can request for it. The facts were reported by the agency already in January 2013.”

Here are the three main cases that were put forward against the Bulgarian Chess Federation (read more about it in our previous report):

  • Two annual tournaments, the Albena Open and the Golden Sands tournament, would have been proclaimed to be “European Cups of Chess,” so that a special funding of 220,000 Euros from the Ministry of Sports could be claimed.
  • Huge amounts of money would have been “spent” on rental of playing halls, medical services, travel expenses and anti-cheating measures.
  • Money from tournaments and federations would have been transferred to the bank account of a company called “European Chess Union Ltd,” registered on May 4, 2011 in Lewes, Delaware (USA).

The decision to ban the three whistleblowers was made during the penultimate round of the Bulgarian league. Therefore, the next day Georgiev and Stoinev suddenly weren't allowed to play for their clubs in the final round.

Two teams (consisting of four players) and one player of another team decided to boycott the round, and so they lost their games by default. As a result, nine out of 16 games were not played, as can be seen on the Chess-Results page

The results of the last round, with nine forfeits.

One of the players who decided not to play was GM Ventzislav Inkiov, who plays for the same team as Stoinev. “When we were informed about this absolutely scandalous decision of the federation, I immediately decided to not play the last round,” Inkiov told Chess.com. “My team members immediately agreed.”

Inkiov refrained from further comments, saying: “It is a very serious situation for the Bulgarian Chess Federation. Millions of euros are involved. Therefore it is better not to comment while the government is investigating the matter.”

Kiril Georgiev said to Chess.com that his team members originally intended not to play either. “But then they spoke with some board members of the federation, and they decided to play anyway. I think they were put under pressure.”

GM Emil Sutovsky, the President of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP), quickly reacted on the matter. On Saturday he wrote on Facebook:

“(...) [W]hat ACP could and should do in order to help its Premium Member Kiril Georgiev? First of all, we are not in the position to change or really challenge the decision of BCF, but we will address FIDE, asking to check the legitimacy of such a decision. Second, we'll ask the organizers of international events to pay attention to the fact, that GM Georgiev is denied a possibility to play (and teach) in his own country, and we hope that the legend of Bulgarian chess will get more good invitations abroad. Finally, I'd like to emphasize again: the professional chess world has to be strong and united - thus the politicians of all kinds will not be able to ruin a career or indeed the fate of the people who dedicated their entire life to chess.”

On Sunday GM Kiril Georgiev himself posted on Facebook an open letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Here's a part [English slightly corrected]:

“I am six-times champion of Bulgaria, I have taken part in 15 Chess Olympiads, more than 30 years I have upheld the honor of my country in different chess competitions. And when I am about to celebrate my 50th anniversary, I receive as a prize the worst punishment that can ever be put upon a professional chess player — not to play chess.”

Georgiev asks the FIDE President to intervene:

“The truth can't be stopped with sanctions. We keep our word firmly because we haven't done any violation. But someone is afraid of the truth coming up on the surface. I hope for your fast and adequate reaction. We are going to seek redress in court but until it pronounce a sentence (a summer vacation is imminent) a lot of time will pass.”

At the time of writing, Ilyumzhinov has not yet responded to Georgiev.

Meanwhile, since Friday the incumbent president knows at least one of his opponents in the 2018 FIDE Presidential elections: Silvio Danailov. In the same statement by the Bulgarian Chess Federation it is mentioned that Danailov will run for president of the World Chess Federation in three years from now:

3. The Management Board took a unanimous decision to bring forward the nomination of Silvio Danailov for President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections.

Danailov, who was not available for comments, was the president of the European Chess Union (ECU) between 2010 and 2014. In August last year he lost the ECU presidential elections to GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

The Bulgarian international master, who was the manager of top GM Veselin Topalov for many years, is known as one of the strongest critics of the current FIDE leadership. In an earlier email conversation Danailov referred to FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos when he told Chess.com:

“Behind [Georgiev/Soinev/Stoichkov] of course are my political enemies Makro & friends, FIDE & ECU, who supported them actively behind the curtains. Everybody knows that. Makro & friends are trying to kill me politically as the last active opposition, simple as that.”

Meanwhile, Kiril Georgiev plans to appeal his ban. “Yes, after consulting with my lawyers I will probably file an appeal,” he said to Chess.com. “We will fight for our rights.”


More from PeterDoggers
MVL, Nakamura To Play London Grand Chess Tour Final

MVL, Nakamura To Play London Grand Chess Tour Final

London Grand Chess Tour Semis To Be Decided Tomorrow

London Grand Chess Tour Semis To Be Decided Tomorrow