Formal protest issued against Turkish Chess Federation (UPDATE)
Six federations have issued a formal protest against the Turkish Chess Federation, which has denied its arbiters to the Istanbul Olympiad. According to the federations from England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA the measure by the TCF is in breach with both the FIDE Statutes and the FIDE Code of Ethics. The Georgian Chess Federation supports the federations.
Last Thursday we reported that arbiters from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA are not welcome at this year's Chess Olympiad, which takes place from August 27th tlll September 10th in Istanbul, Turkey. Two days earlier the organizers, the Turkish Chess Federation, had announced that they will not accept arbiters from federations that "launched or supported court cases against FIDE and thus created financial problems for FIDE and a loss of distributable income for worldwide chess development."
(Read our blogger GM David Smerdon's reaction here.)
This measure was likely to meet criticism, and it didn't take long. On Friday Andrew Farthing, Chief Executive of the English Chess Federation, sent a protest letter to FIDE (PDF here). It was co-signed by the federations from France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA, and later the Georgian Chess Federation also announced its support.
VIA E-MAIL 8 June 2012
FIDE Secretariat 9
Attention: Presidential Board, Chairman of FIDE Ethics Commission
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:
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:
It is also in violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics, article 2.2.3, which refers to:
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.
English Chess Federation
This letter is supported by the following FIDE members, listed in alphabetical order:
French Chess Federation
Note that the federations address the letter not only to the FIDE Presidential Board, but also to its Ethical Commission, which is now more or less obliged to take action. Whatever the outcome will be, the reaction by the Ethics Commission will also be interesting from a political point of view, since Mr Yazici is a Vice President himself.
Update June 12th, 2012
The Association of Chess Professionals has now also reacted negatively to the arbiters ban:
The ACP Board has received an official letter from the number of world's leading chess federations, with the request to react on the public statement of the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2012/Olympiad_2012/statement_of_...
We know Mr.Yazici as a proactive chess organizer, who managed to organize a significant number of a high-level events in Turkey. Thanks to his efforts, the Olympiad 2012 was granted to Istanbul.
However, the ACP Board sees his decision not to invite any principal or arbiter from England, France, Georgia, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA as a very dangerous precedent, which contradicts the very spirit of the "Gens Una Sumus" motto and violates the FIDE statutes.
We would like to remind Mr. Yazici and the whole chess community, that Olympiads were always seen as a major event which unites people, and in good old days, all the wars were terminated, when the Olympiad was about to start.
We firmly believe, that the World Chess Olympiad should not become a battlefield, and it is unacceptable to ban any federation on political or other grounds.
We have been informed, that if the situation doesn't change, some of the affected federations would consider to boycott the Olympiad altogether and not to send their players to Istanbul.
The ACP Board calls on FIDE to urgently discuss the situation and to resolve it fairly by respecting the rights and duties of all the parties involved.
The ACP Board also appeals personally to the President of the Turkish Chess Federation Mr. Ali Nihat Yazici, asking him to take one step back and to reinforce the Olympic spirit of peace, friendship and unity, even at the cost of sacrificing the very views of the National Federation he represents.
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