CAS court case against Ilyumzhinov dismissed

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage

Ilyumzhinov vs KarpovThe case against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland has been dismissed. The court decided that FIDE failed to properly verify the validity of the nominations, but ruled against Karpov and its backing federations because the wording of the FIDE regulations is insufficiently specific on the matter of nomination requirements.As we reported last week, the CAS hearings started on Wednesday, September 15th in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Karpov team questioned the validity of Ilyumzhinov's ticket. Backed by the chess federations of the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine, Karpov asked the court to check the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s claim to have been nominated by the Russian Chess Federation as their candidate for the FIDE presidential elections. Moreover, the validity of Ilyumzhinov’s nomination by Argentina and Mexico was also questioned, as was Ms. Beatriz Marinello’s nomination by Chile and Brazil (relevant because a team must include a female delegate). Remarkably, the CAS in Lausanne still doesn't mention the case in their list of hearings. Last week we spoke with one of the CAS people involved in the case, but the only thing she could say was that "everything is confidential". Asked about when the ruling would be, the lady replied: "That I cannot tell you either, and even after there has been a ruling, the case might remain confidential."

Case dismissed

As it turned out, the ruling took place yesterday. It hasn't been published by the CAS itself yet, but both parties involved have confirmed the decision by the court and last night it was published on the FIDE website. Interestingly, the FIDE report ends with a link to the official CAS document (PDF, 27 pages), despite the fact that the first page says:

The parties are advised that this matter shall remain confidential pursuant to the provisions of Article R43 of the CAS Code, save for the publication of the award, further to the parties' agreement. The CAS anticipates publishing the award on its website tomorrow morning, Tuesday, 28 September 2010.

In its report, FIDE claims victory ("FIDE won the case against Karpov 2010 Inc. and five national federations") and on the Ilyumzhinov campaign site, the crowd goes wild:

The lawsuit, which was filed by White & Case, a Manhattan firm, sought to have the ticket of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov disqualified. BUT…JUSTICE PREVAILED.


It has been a testing time for the “One World. One Vision.” Team. We have had to face countless attacks by the Karpov Team.  We have had to defend ourselves in court, we have had to defend ourselves against malicious rumors and verbal attacks, we have had to face enormous pressure – but….AGAIN…WE PREVAILED.

We have succeeded in the face of adversity and with 94 National Federations supporting us so far, WE WILL WIN!

However, it seems highly inaccurate to speak of a victory. As can be read in the PDF document, the CAS has determined that FIDE has failed to exercise its duty to verify the validity of the nominations. This is best demonstrated by a logical inconsistency in the FIDE Statutes (we quote the CAS document):

Finally, the Panel's conclusion [that FIDE has failed to exercise its duty to verify the validity of the nominations - CV] is confirmed by the following considerations: Article 16.3 of the FIDE Statutes provides that decisions made by the GA "concerning [...] the electoral regulations will come into effect on the last day of the General Assembly, after the General Assembly is closed [...]". On this basis alone, the GA cannot be the proper forum to make decisions respecting the eligibility of nominations, the reason being that the decision regarding eligibility would not become effective until after the vote on the election would have to take place.

Besides, Ilyumzhinov's claim above that "The court in Lausanne confirmed legitimacy [sic] of my nomination to the post of the President of FIDE by the Russian Chess Federation" is not true. The CAS specifically declined to test the Russian nominations, declaring it irrelevant for reasons that will become clear below.

FIDE regulations insufficiently specific

Nonetheless, the CAS had to rule against Karpov and its backing federations because the wording of the FIDE regulations is insufficiently specific on the matter of nomination requirements. According to the FIDE Electorial Regulations a nominated person has to be a member of the nominating federation for at least a year. But the wording in section 1.2 of the Electorial Regulations is crucial, as it has three different ways of indicating the "duty" to be fulfilled:

- "nominations [...] must reach the FIDE Secretariat [...]" - "to be elected, each candidate shall be nominated [...]" and - "he/she should have been a member [...]" [emphasis added]

So the Karpov side was right in most of its claims, but because of the above, the CAS Panel decided:

Contrary to what has been suggested at the hearing, one cannot ignore that according to the text of Section 1.2 of the EL membership is a "should-requirement" as opposed to "must" or "shall". The Panel therefore considers that the requirement of a one-year membership is not mandatory but recommendatory.


"Mr Ilyumzhimov has been properly nominated by the federations of Mexico/Argentina" [...] "Ms. Marinello has been validly nominated by the federations of Chile and Brazil".

In other words: Ilyumzhinov's ticket wasn't disqualified by the CAS in Lausanne because of poor formulated regulations, which was never discovered before because thus far nobody needed to check these regulations. And it seems the chess world got stuck in a Catch-22 in that it might need a new FIDE President to improve the regulations that kept the incumbent one for running for a new term.

Elections - when?

The FIDE Presidential elections are scheduled for tomorrow, but the CAS PDF document speaks of "September 30th". In fact it wouldn't be the first time if the elections were moved from the first day of the General Assembly to the last, and so it's possible that it won't take place until next Saturday, October 2nd. Despite the unfortunate result in Lausanne, the Karpov team seems confident. In their reaction to the court's decision, on the Karpov campaign site they write in bold:

While we are disappointed that Kirsan’s administration will not be directly punished for abusing FIDE powers and ignoring regulations, we look forward to winning the vote in Khanty-Mansiysk!

'The kings are making the FIDE officials nervous'

Sergey Shipov, who is a close friend of Garry Kasprov, yesterday wrote the following at his LiveJournal blog (text translated by Colin).

"By the way, on the kings. They’re there, in Khanty. They’re walking around the tournament hall, collecting crowds of admirers and making the arbiters and FIDE officials nervous. They’re using their personal grandeur to save a pile of money in the election campaign. After all, the FIDE Congress has begun and the warring sides are fighting over the votes of the delegates. FIDE, i.e. Ilyumzhinov’s team, are giving out presents, as usual. In their hands they’ve got the administrative resources, and money. While the KarKas team has new hopes, the grandeur of champions, the negative impression years of Ilyumzhinov rule have left and… I hope, also money. Yes, actually, I’m sure of that. Without the damned stuff you can’t get anywhere. One of the greats is confident of victory. Saying they’ll do it even without the Court in Lausanne. An optimist, both in chess and in life! The other, as I understand it, is more cautious in his evaluations. He’s more cautious in general… However, he’s very active. It’s clear that there are serious positional justifications for an attack. And if Karpov attacks it means that it’s been calculated."
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