"FIDE Simply Escaped on a Technicality"

Время публикации: 19.07.2012 01:40 | Последнее обновление: 19.07.2012 01:46

Nigel Short about the details that have fallen upon stone-deaf ears of FIDE

The FIDE reported about the victory of the court case against English and Georgian Chess Federations about two weeks ago. The case was considered in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. We made a detailed report on the information published by the official website of the International federation (FIDE).

Nigel Short, the famous GM and the delegate from the English Chess Federation, wants to inform the public that the information published by FIDE wasn't accurate. So, Mr. Short wrote an open letter which, at some point, is also an appeal to the FIDE:

Dear chess friends,

The resignation of Ali Nihat Yazici, as FIDE Vice President, and its subsequent rejection by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, shows that the FIDE leadership are either unwilling to acknowledge, or incapable of understanding, the sharp criticisms made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne in the recently-concluded case, brought by the English and Georgian chess federations, challenging the improper appointment of three extra Vice Presidents at the 2010 General Assembly in Khanty Mansiysk.  The Panel of Judges has sent clear warning to FIDE of the need for reform. It is apparent this call has fallen upon stone-deaf ears.

In so far as it went, FIDE accurately reported the outcome of the case on its website … except that it completely and conveniently ignored the most important point - that  FIDE simply escaped on a technicality and failed to mention that it was severely criticized by the CAS Panel in its decision.

First, the technicality. The CAS didn’t make a decision on the merits of the case because it ruled that all challenges have to be made within 21 days of the decision being challenged.  But FIDE’s own rules state that FIDE doesn’t need to publish the Minutes of the General Assembly for “three months after the meeting is closed” (FIDE Statute 4.12.)  This is Kafkaesque – how can you challenge something in court before the Minutes – controlled by FIDE – of the thing you are challenging are even produced?

As to what the CAS has to say about FIDE’s behaviour, the decision speaks for itself: 

“102. The Panel has reviewed and duly considered both parties' pleadings on the merits, and notes that these at the very least raise a number of prima facie issues regarding the clarity of the FIDE Statutes and Electoral Regulations, and regarding the internal governance of FIDE. However, having decided that CAS 2011/A/2392 is inadmissible, the Panel will not address in this award the parties' pleadings on the merits, which have been outlined above in Section VIII.

103.  Nevertheless, the Panel would encourage FIDE to assess critically its past practice in light of the texts of its statutes and regulations, so as to maintain an appropriate level of transparency in its decision-making process.”

“109. In light of the Respondent’s success in challenging both claims commenced by the Appellants, the Panel considers that a contribution by the Appellants to the Respondent’s costs is warranted.  However, the Panel considers that the scope of such a contribution should be limited in light of the fact that the Respondent’s awkward disregard for constitutional formalities during the FIDE Congress, which – by amongst others creating a level of ambiguity as to the nature of the appointment of the Five Vice Presidents – should have been understood by FIDE as having a potential to create discord and lead to the commencement of claims.

It would be grossly negligent if the FIDE leadership failed to take these criticisms by the Panel of Judges seriously to maintain an “appropriate level of transparency”.  Likewise, the CAS decision underscores the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the FIDE Statutes and Electoral Regulations at the next General Assembly to improve the “internal governance of FIDE” and prevent arbitrary actions that “create discord,” such as the appointment of five, not two Vice Presidents.  FIDE will doubtless try to argue that this is what it is doing.  But as explained in the memorandum commissioned by the ECF (along with the Bulgarian and US Chess Federations), this is most definitely not the case.  Many of FIDE’s proposals for rule changes are transparently designed to keep the ruling group in power for the foreseeable future.  In addition, FIDE’s proposals are drafted in poor, imprecise and sometimes unintelligible English, and are often contradictory, which, if passed, will inevitably lead to further confusion and conflict.  Serious overhaul and precise drafting is needed. Everyone who cares deeply about the game of chess and future of the governing body should take a firm interest in revision of the rules at the FIDE General Assembly, in September, in Istanbul. 

Yours, in chess,
Nigel Short

Delegate, English Chess Federation.


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