Reports | July 10, 2012 13:36

CAS dismisses case English & Georgian federation vs FIDE

CAS dismisses case English & Georgian federation vs FIDE

The case between the English & Georgian chess federations vs FIDE was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on July 3rd. FIDE claims to have won the case, but Nigel Short stated: "FIDE simply escaped on a technicality and fails to mention that it was severely criticized by the CAS Panel in its decision."

The English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation joined forces against FIDE and went to the CAS court, arguing that the nomination of five Vice Presidents in October 2010 was illegal. At the General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk, FIDE President Kirsan llyumzhinov nominated Chu Bo, Israel Gelfer, Ilya Levito, Boris Kutin and Ali Nihat Yazici as FIDE Vice Presidents. The English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation pointed out that FIDE's own statutes state that the President is entitled to nominate only two Vice-Presidents, not five.

On July 5th FIDE reported that it had won the case:

On 3rd July 2012, the Court of arbitration for sport (CAS) issued its decision in the arbitration opposing FIDE to the English Chess Federation and the Georgian Chess Federation (Appellants). These FIDE members were challenging the nomination by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the confirmation and approval by the General Assembly of five Vice-Presidents in Khanty-Mansiysk in October 2010 arguing that only two Vice-Presidents could be nominated and confirmed. The Appellants filed a first appeal before FIDE Presidential Board and, against the latter’s refusal to consider a matter already decided by the General Assembly, before the CAS. FIDE immediately raised the objection that this appeal did not address the General Assembly’s confirmation/approval of the five Vice-Presidents. The Appellants tried to correct their mistake by filing a second appeal before CAS on the 29 March 2011, challenging this time the General Assembly’s decision of October 2011.

The CAS dismissed the two appeals. Its main rulings are as follows:

The Panel first decided that the dispute should be examined in light not only of Swiss law but also of the general principles of law (lex sportiva).

Second, the Panel considered that, contrary to what was alleged by the Appellants, the decision to appoint the five Vice-Presidents in Khanty-Mansiysk was a decision taken by FIDE General Assembly, and not a unilateral decision of FIDE President.

As a consequence, the CAS:

•    dismissed the first appeal filed by the Appellants because it wrongly challenged the Presidential Board’s “decision” instead of the General Assembly’s confirmation and approval of the five nominated Vice-Presidents;
•    held that the second appeal was inadmissible, having been brought six months after the General Assembly, i.e. later than the 21 day time limit set out in the CAS procedural rules.
In view of the above, the CAS ordered the Appellants English Chess Federation and Georgian Chess Federation to pay to FIDE CHF 75,000 for its legal fees and expenses as well as to reimburse to FIDE an amount of approximately CHF 50,000 corresponding to the advance of costs paid by FIDE to the CAS.

Despite this positive outcome, and as in the Karpov’s case lost by the same law firm and funder in summer 2010, FIDE deeply regrets the efforts and resources spent to have these two frivolous appeals dismissed and declared inadmissible.

Full details can be found in the 23-page CAS decision here (PDF).

Today a statement by Nigel Short, who was closely involved in the CAS case, was posted on the English Chess Federation's website (PDF here):

Dear ECF members,

After a very lengthy delay, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has finally announced the outcome of the case that the English and Georgian chess federations brought challenging the improper appointment of three extra Vice Presidents at the 2010 General Assembly in Khanty-Mansiysk.

FIDE has accurately reported the outcome of the case on its website ... except that it completely and conveniently ignores the most important point - that FIDE simply escaped on a technicality and fails 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 argue that this is exactly what it is trying to do. 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.

Nigel Short (Delegate).

The similarity with the Karpov vs Ilyumzhinov case is striking. In September 2010 CAS dismissed this case as well; this was about Karpov questioning the validity of Ilyumzhinov's ticket for the Presidential elections back then. We wrote: 

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 (...). 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.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Mads Sørensen's picture

Am I the only one who can see a staggering resemblance between this case and Armstrong's doping case(s)? Both are clearly gulity of wrong-doing but escape do to technical errors from the counterpart. (Let us hope that at least the Texas finally gets what he deserves.)

RealityCheck's picture

How trivial. This crap is a big waste of time and money. One can only imagine how much more money will be wasted if Short/Kasparov ever swindle their way in to FIDEs' management.

Casaubon's picture

Trivial? The only big waste of time and money in question here is the big fat salaries and expense accounts being paid to FIDE's vice-presidents and the free reign they get to do whatever damage to chess they wish (witness the recent actions of Mr.Ali Nihat Yacizi)

RealityCheck's picture

Yeah. yeah. yeah. You were witness to the three (4 including the ladies) world championships these fat salaried VP's working for FIDE got off the ground. How many of you said it could not be done? How many years now since chess was supposed to, according to Kasparov, fall flat on its face? How trivial it all is. BlaBLAhhBlaaa.

Congratulations to Karjakin and Grischuk for stellar performance in Astana. To bad Classical Wch Anand isn't there to hand over their world Rapid and Blitz champions trophies. Three world champs in the house!!!

Anonymous's picture

Please give some of the roses you're smelling.

RealityCheck's picture

@Anonymous 1 week 10 hours ago

...have no roses. All the roses on my balcony are dead. Please, take some Skunk Cabbage?

Anonymous's picture

Indeed, definitely this case is in no way trivial. Sadly, it represents just another of countless examples for galloping incompetence freely ignoring commonly accepted standards of democracy and ethics in decision making.
Can there be any doubt about these 5 extra vice presidents being created for the purpose of granting money and influence, while in return demanding loyalty for the big spender? Same goes for the dubious voting procedure! All this pathetic behaviour sadly and embarassingly leading to a widely perceived declaration of bankruptcy, figuratively speaking.

noyb's picture

I've said it for decades: "DUMP FIDE!"

Eventually professional players, sponsers, and member nations will get tired of FIDE's corruption and how bad it hurts Chess. Who knows how much more has to happen before they finally do...?

Claude's picture

@Casaubon: your remark made me go looking for the FIDE budget which I found here: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2011/fide_news/Agenda_and_Annexe...
I'm not an expert in reading financial stuff, but the staff costs don't seem that exuberant?

The FIDE website lists 2 persons working in the Moscow office for staff costs of 51 784. Certainly a very decent salary in Russia, but it doesn't seem scandalous to me?

What seems absolutely incredible are the legal costs of 900 000 €, both cases to CAS seem indeed terribly trivial,

I can't understand why FIDE would need any lawyer at all, having incredibly sly and witty people like Makropoulos working for them ;-)

Maybe chessvibes could shed some light on this budget, or on money in and output in FIDE in general? For example, how is that CACDEC money spent? Why have the "Americas and Africa President" travel costs of 20 000 resp. 12 000 EUR, and why does FIDE have to pay them? Why are there no expenses of that kind for "Europe and Asia President"? Maybe it can all be found on the internet?

Claude's picture

almost under my nose, some explications are here: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/NEWS_2011/fide_news/Agenda_and_Annexe...

World youth championship earned FIDE over 120000 euros! That's why almost anybody willing to pay is allowed to compete in these things...

Stephen's picture

Sounds like ECF et al. need to change their lawyers if they are having their case rejected due "technical" slip ups.

Bartleby's picture

Maybe, but good lawyers are expensive. You would need a 900000 legal budget.

Stephen's picture

Fair point, but if you keep losing due to "technical" errors it's not very economical anyway. The only winners (as usual) are the lawyers. Maybe they should try a "no win, no fee" arrangement ?

B L's picture

Excuse my naivety, but what has FIDE done wrong?

(I mean it, I want to be part of the mob, but haven't read much about it - a summary would be appreciated).

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