Russia expelled from International Chess Federation on Ukraine’s complaint

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has stripped the Russian Chess Federation (RCF) of its membership for two years. The decision was taken by the Ethics Commission. It was due to the fact that the FSR included in its membership chess clubs from the occupied Ukrainian territories – Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions – and held competitions there, as well as did not observe “political neutrality”.

In addition, the commission accused FIDE head Arkadii Dvorkovich of violating the federation’s ethical and disciplinary code and reprimanded him. He told Match TV that the reason was his participation in the FIDE Board of Trustees, which includes the sanctioned individuals: Secretary of the Russian Security Council Sergei Shoigu, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, billionaires Gennady Timchenko and Mikhail Fridman. The council is headed by presidential spokesman Dmitrii Peskov.

Dvorkovich specified that the decision has not yet entered into force and will be appealed. RCF executive director Aleksandr Tkachev confirmed that lawyers are already at work. “We categorically disagree with this decision. It is obvious that it is politicized. We will not be silent. <…> We have time to weigh everything up, competently draw up all the documents and file counter objections”, he said, adding that the decision affected 135,000 Russian chess players from the FIDE rating list.

FIDE President Andrei Filatov said that the issue of the powers of the Ethics Commission will be brought up for discussion at the FIDE General Assembly to be held in Budapest in September. He emphasized that the national federation is out of politics and is engaged in the development of sport. “We are convinced that holding chess tournaments, a direct duty of the FIDE, cannot be a reason for sanctions against the FIDE and Russian chess players”, Filatov said.

The Kremlin said it considered FIDE’s decision to temporarily exclude the FSHR unfair. Peskov emphasized that Russia will defend its interests. At the same time, he expressed hope that it happened “because of a misunderstanding that will be overcome”.

The complaint to the ethics commission was filed by Magnus Carlsen’s 16th world champion coach Peter Heine Nielsen, the Ukrainian Chess Federation and Ukrainian grandmaster Andrii Barishpolets. They expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the International Chess Federation is headed by Arkady Dvorkovich, “a direct servant of the Kremlin and complicit in Russia’s crimes”. Also, in their opinion, Russians and Belarusians in principle should not be allowed to compete in any status while the war in Ukraine is going on.

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