Olympiad Tromsø: FIDE President issues a deadline

by ChessBase
7/18/2014 – The problems of missed registrations for some teams has come to a head, with FIDE President stating that the Organizing Committee has "performed an unbelievable scheme of combined illegitimate actions which should never take place in a democratic country like Norway." Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has issued a deadline to the Norwegians to solve the issues: Monday 21 July, 11 am CET.

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Moscow, 18 July 2014

To: "Tromso Olympiad 2014" Organizing Committee

Dear members of the "Tromso Olympiad 2014" Organizing Committee,

In my capacity as FIDE President, I am strongly complaining about the latest decisions and behaviour of the Olympiad Organizing Committee in Tromso.

FIDE cannot accept the way that the Organizing Committee is treating many national federations by delaying registrations, visa invitations and ignoring FIDE decisions, regulations and signed contracts.

Unfortunately, the strong influence and partnership of one FIDE presidential candidate, and his employees, within the Organizing Committee is causing for the first time in Olympiad history, so many problems in a top FIDE event:

  • selected countries that need to travel as a whole delegation to another country (!!) to get their visa,
  • match arbiters staying in hotels ...70 km away (!!) from the games,
  • selected Federations that are prohibited to access the online registration system of the Olympiad,
  • invitation letters not issued for accompanying persons due to accommodation problems,
  • and even federations like Russia which have been initially accepted as participants and then were refused registration, only 2 weeks before the event!

For the case of Russian Women's Team, everything is very clear and it is a wonder how the Organizing Committee is now refusing its participation. The press release of the Organizing Committee here shows that only on 5 June the Organizing Committee confirmed that the Olympiad will really take place, after their previous public statements that the Olympiad might be cancelled due to financial problems.

Still, the Russian Chess Federation had informed the Organizing Committee long before 1 June that it intends to participate with both teams (men and women). On 5 June, the FIDE Executive Director confirmed to the Organizing Committee that Russia should be registered. The only reason that Russia could not register their women team was that they were waiting for FIDE's decision on the Kateryna Lagno case, which was only finalized on 12 July. In the meantime, the Organizing Committee had accepted both team's registrations (men and women) and even issued an invoice to the Russian Chess Federation on 7 July, fully paid on 11 July, which is attached as annex 1 and can even be seen online up to now here.

Therefore, it is obvious that the issue had been resolved many days ago, even by accounting means, and it is re-opened now for political reasons, connected with the FIDE elections. In addition, FIDE has repeatedly informed the Organizing Committee that the participation of a team, which was not registered within the deadline, is not an issue of the Organisers authority but one of FIDE President to decide.

The Organizing Committee, instead of complying with FIDE's instructions, also created similar problems with other national federations, contrary to FIDE regulations. The Federations of Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan are only three examples, out of many, legitimate federations that are denied access to the online registration system of the Olympiad, and even today they are still not allowed to register their full delegation. The Organizing Committee had instead given the Afghanistan and Gabon access to the registration system to people who are connected to Gary Kasparov and falsely claimed to represent the real federations of Afghanistan and Gabon! This is an issue resolved by the Electoral Commission of FIDE since 14 July and the Organising Committee is aware of this. The Organizing Committee in Tromso has performed an unbelievable scheme of combined illegitimate actions which should never take place in a democratic country like Norway.

As FIDE President, I am hereby officially informing the Organizing Committee that the delegations of Russia, Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan are allowed to participate in the FIDE Olympiad and Congress in Tromso, in accordance with the power given to the FIDE President by article 6.1 of the regulations. This decision has been made by taking into account the real problems that the federations of Russia, Afghanistan, Gabon and Pakistan faced during the registration process.

Furthermore and in all cases, article 3.7.2 of the Olympiad regulations only stipulate a fine of 100 euros per person for late submissions. Not exclusion of any team and certainly NOT under any individual's personal decision without the approval of FIDE.

Therefore, I'm instructing the Organizing Committee to accept without any delay the registrations of Cambodia, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Oman and Senegal for participation in the Chess Olympiad and Congress of Tromso. The amount of 100 euros per person for these federations will be paid to the Organizing Committee. FIDE will cover this cost and not the national federations.

At this stage, FIDE is in consultation with its lawyers and bankers.

FIDE is considering all measures, including compensation to the affected federations through the default of the Organizing Committee's bank guarantee, as the Organizing Committee has already violated several articles of the Olympiad regulations and their contract with FIDE.

The FIDE President, according to the Olympiad regulations, is empowered to take final decisions on urgent and unforeseen issues, a regulation especially important to prevent local organisers from abusing the rights national federations. Unfortunately, it is the first time in the history of Chess Olympiads that such a measure is applied and it is absolutely necessary to protect many national federations from the illegal and biased decisions of the Organizing Committee in Tromso.

We are expecting the Organizing Committee in Tromso to operate as a fully independent and fair body to all national chess federations and not only to the ones that are politically connected to them. I have been also informed by the FIDE Executive Director Mr. Nigel Freeman and FIDE Vice-President Mr. Israel Gelfer, that many problems which have been identified in their inspections in Tromso have not been resolved yet. The main duty of the Organizing Committee should be to solve these problems connected with the games, not to engage in war with FIDE or its national federations.

By Monday 21 July, 11 am CET, the Organizing Committee should confirm to FIDE in a written statement that all Olympiad applicants will receive visa and no country will be excluded without the approval of FIDE. We hope to enjoy a successful and well organized Olympiad in Tromso.

Addendum 1: The organisers have acknowledged the receipt of the letter: "Chess Olympiad Tromsø 2014 received today, at 09:00, an open letter from FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The board of COT 2014 will now devote its time to reviewing this letter. COT 2014 will make its position known within the deadline set in the FIDE letter, that is, by Monday, 21 July, 11:00 (a.m.) Central European Time. Until then, COT 2014 will not issue any further comment. – Head of Communications Jarle Heitmann.

Addendum 2: There has been rumours on the Internet that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to help Ilyumzhinov move the Olympiad to Sochi, and defray the additional costs of two million Euros. As of writing no confirmation of these rumours have been received, so that they should be treated with utmost caution.

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