International Chess Federation suspends Russia for 2 years over inclusion of occupied Ukrainian regions

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, 26 December 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE / LESZEK SZYMANSKI

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, 26 December 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE / LESZEK SZYMANSKI 

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has suspended the Russian Chess Federation’s (RCF) membership of the global body for two years as punishment for the RCF’s activities in the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, FIDE said in a statement on Friday.

The ove came following a complaint lodged by the Ukrainian Chess Federation (UCF) with FIDE’s ethics commission after the RCF included chess clubs in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, in “all-Russian” competitions.

The complaint, which was filed jointly by the UCF, Ukrainian grandmaster Andriy Baryshpolets and Danish grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen, also argued that the RCF had associations with individuals who are under international sanctions, likely a reference to its board, which includes former Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov and Russian billionaires Gennady Timchenko and Mikhail Fridman.

Current FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich, who served as Russia’s former deputy prime minister during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev and who also serves on the RCF board of trustees, said that the RCF’s suspension had not yet come into force, adding that some members of the council did not agree with the decision and that it was very likely to be appealed.

The RCF’s president Andrey Filatov told state-affiliated business daily Kommersant that the decision was “politically biased” and “discriminatory” and that the RCF intended to challenge it. “The task of sports federations is to bring people together, not to separate them,” Filatov said. “It is this principle that guides the Russian Chess Federation in its activities.”

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