FIDE exonerates Ivanchuk on missing drug test

1/22/2009 – You remember the Sword of Damocles hanging over Vassily Ivanchuk's head? The world's number three player had stormed out of the hall after the final, deeply traumatic game, without heeding the request of an arbiter to take a drug test. For this a two-year ban was threatened. After thorough investigation FIDE has concluded that it was a misunderstanding and decided there will be no penalty.

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Press conference of the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Wijk aan Zee (NED), January 21, 2009

Drug testing is still relatively rare in chess. However, it does occur in various official events and was carried out during the course of the Dresden Olympiad. Unfortunately, a high proportion of the tests were scheduled during the last round and there was a lack of personnel, which lead to a procedural error: there was not a designated Doping Control Officer present at this match (USA v Ukraine).

After losing a crucial game for his country, Mr Ivanchuk was distraught. The Hearing Panel concludes that although the arbiter attempted to inform Mr Ivanchuk in English that he should accompany him for a doping test, Mr Ivanchuk apparently failed to understand the instructions, especially since English is not Mr Ivanchuk’s first language. If there had been a Doping Control Officer present, he would have immediately gone to Mr Ivanchuk’s board and there would have been communication between him and Mr Ivanchuk. In that case the outcome might have been different. Because there was no notification by the Doping Control officer, there was no refusal in the sense of the regulations.

The Conclusion:

The procedural error allied with Mr Ivanchuk’s state of mind led him unintentionally to miss the test. The Hearing Panel therefore concludes unanimously that there should be no penalty.

Source: FIDE

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