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FIDE president sparks resignation crisis

Published: 
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Now what can we make of the current emotional antics of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, the world chess body? During a recent meeting in Athens of the Presidential Board Ilyumzhinov announced a number of times his intention to resign and, at the end of the session, he declared to board members “I resign”, repeating this intention two more times.

In a letter to him afterwards, FIDE Deputy President George Makropoulos pointed out that at no time during the meeting did any member of the Board raise the question or requested him to resign.

Makropoulos added: “I would like to kindly remind you that this situation is the result of your own actions. You were advised several times before and during the meeting by several board members present that the discussion was wrong and that the FIDE Presidential Board should not serve for you to try to resolve personal issues.

“It is also very unfair to attack and insult FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman by blaming him for spreading false rumours, especially since you know very well that Nigel has only published the facts together with your replies. In reference to your media statements about an attempted ‘coup,’ ‘impeachment’ or calls for your resignation, I would like to stress clearly that such allegations are not true and this can be easily proven by the recorded tape minutes of the meeting.”

In his turn, Jorge Vega, FIDE’s Continental President for America, pointed out the real reason for the crisis. It was not, he declared in a statement to member federations, any request by the Presidential Board to abandon the position of President but a proposal of Ilyumzhinov regarding AGON, the company to which FIDE had granted the rights of execution of events of the World Championship cycle which was overwhelmingly rejected by the Presidential Board.

Vega added that, due to the importance of the situation, FIDE published the news on its web page but this was denied by Ilyumzhinov who said that he did not sign anything and described it as false news in the media. In this regard, Makropoulos clarified what had happened in a letter, adding that everything could be verified as Presidential Board meetings are recorded.

“As an antecedent to this unpleasant situation,” Vega noted, “it is worth remembering that, as a result of sanctions imposed on Mr Ilyumzhinov by the Department of the Treasury of the USA, he passed all functions inherent in his position to the Deputy President at a meeting of the PB to avoid those sanctions affecting FIDE.”

Vega further pointed out that the sanctions imposed would limit potential sponsors in supporting FIDE events.

Zurab Azmaiparashvili, FIDE Continental President for Europe, in his statement, pointed out that, despite the US Treasury sanctions imposed on Ilyumzhinov, he could recall no instance of the Board demanding the resignation of the President. He added, however, that “this makes it harder and harder every day for FIDE to work efficiently and this puts potential and not only potential sponsors off.” The Board, he added, had given Ilyumzhinov enouth time to defend himself in front of US authorities..

Events have resulted in a management crisis which, in his opinion, was the “direct outcome of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s hesitant position.” This was noticeable during the Presidential Board meeting when he declared his intention to resign. At the end of the meeting, under strong emotional stress, he verbally confirmed his resignation three times.

DR, for one, is not surprised at this sorry scenario. After all, isn’t this the same FIDE President who said he was abducted by aliens in yellow spacesuits, who claimed that chess was invented by extra terrestrials.