FIDE PRESIDENTIAL BOARD 1st QUARTER
Minsk, Belarus 7-8 April, 2018
The Meeting was opened by Mrs Anastasia Sorokina, the President of the Belarus Chess Federation, who welcomed the FIDE Presidential Board to Minsk and wished them a pleasant stay and successful meeting in Minsk, during which they would present their bid for the 2022 Chess Olympiad.
The FIDE Deputy President, Mr Georgios Makropoulos thanked Mrs Sorokina for her kind words and also for the excellent organisation of the Presidential Board (PB) Meeting. He then advised the Presidential Board of what had happened since the Presidential Board in Athens.
In particular, he advised the PB on the FIDE Rapid & Blitz Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He said that he was very pleased that FIDE had negotiated that for the first time in Saudi Arabia, the women participants did not need to wear abayas in the tournament hall, nor in the hotel where they were staying and men and women were able to play in the same room.
FIDE was also able to persuade the Saudi authorities to grant visas to Iranian and Qatari players. Unfortunately, it became clear only at the last day that visas were not going to be granted to Israeli players. He advised that in January, he had had talks with the Israeli Chess Federation about the situation and had come to an agreement with them. FIDE was continuing to speak with the Organisers to ensure that all participants would be able to get visas in future.
He advised the PB that FIDE was now in a sound financial position and had built up reserves by cutting unnecessary expenses.
He advised that the situation was becoming very nasty and personal and that, together with Prof. Adrian Siegel, Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Geoffrey Borg, he was referring Mr. Ilyumzhinov, Willy Icklicki, Lewis Ncube, Berik Balgabaev and Silvio Danailov to the Ethics Commission for spreading lies and defamatory statements.
The PB then discussed the situation regarding the FIDE bank accounts. Prof. Adrian Siegel, the FIDE Treasurer and Nigel Freeman, the FIDE Executive Director brought the PB up to date on the severe problems caused by the request of FIDE’s bankers that they would close our accounts on 30th April, 2018 because of the fact that the FIDE President is on the US Sanctions list. They advised that despite meetings with senior management of the bank, whilst they extended the deadline from the original 28th February, 2018 to 30th April, 2018, they were unwilling to extend until the FIDE elections on 3rd October, 2018, when the matter would be solved.
They also advised that they had approached many other banks both in Switzerland and outside and had met with several, they all said they were willing to have FIDE as a client, they were unable to do so whilst its President was on the US sanctions list. The PB recognised the dire operational situation FIDE was in because the President was under US Sanctions and passed the following resolution to ask the President to resign by 14 votes to 1 with no abstentions:
The Presidential Board has resolved:
In the light of:
a) The imminent withdrawal of FIDE’s banking facilities by UBS,
b) The inability of FIDE to obtain replacement banking facilities while you remain nominal President and
c) subject to US Treasury Department sanctions,
d) The consequent severe difficulties facing FIDE in funding its obligations and its commitments to the chess family,
e) The adverse publicity that reflects badly on FIDE’s reputation and undermines the confidence of all those who are or
would be involved in chess,
That in the interests of the organisation:
You should resign with immediate effect.
Makropoulos, Georgios Deputy President
Tolentino, Abraham General Secretary
Fierro, Martha Vice President
Siegel, Adrian Treasurer
Bastian, Herbert Vice President
Kambuzia, Mohammed Vice President
Marinello, Beatriz Vice President
Sundar, D.V. Vice President
Al-Hitmi, Khalifa Vice President
Gelfer, Israel Vice President
Kutin, Boris Vice President
Tulay, Gulkiz Vice President
Ochoa, Javier Hon. Vice President
Ramirez, Mario Hon. Vice President
Vega, Jorge President of Americas
Azmaiparashvili, Zurab President of ECU
The PB then discussed the subject of the $30,000 loan to the ACC. It was agreed that the loan had not been fully used for the purposes requested; that there was no proof in any way as to how the loan was used; that the other board members of the ACC had not been advised of the loan until late 2017; that there was a delay of 29 months from the initial promised date of repayment; and that the loan was only repaid when the fact of the loan was became public knowledge. It was therefore agreed that the remainder of the FIDE Development Budget for Africa would be handled by the Treasurer and the Executive Director. Only the African Continental President disagreed with this decision.
The PB discussed the various FIDE offices and resolved to close the Moscow Office as soon as possible.
The PB then discussed the various reports from Commissions and approved all reports and title recommendations. The PB discussed in detail the situation in Bulgaria, with Mr Toshev from the Bulgarian Chess Federation (1928) presenting their case for becoming a member of FIDE. He was advised that FIDE needed to receive the information requested by the Ethics Commission regarding the payments from their bank account to the fake ECU (Delaware) bank account and other matters. Particularly they should ask the Prosecutor why he has taken four years with no action regarding the more than one million Euros stolen from the Bulgarian Government. They also had to provide the translation of documents into English. Until these matters were settled, no action can be taken towards recognising any Federation in Bulgaria. The PB resolved that if these matters were not solved by the end of April that all the Bulgarian players in the FIDE ratings list would no longer be rated until the situation was regularised.
The PB then discussed the various FIDE events and were brought up to date with the situation regarding the 2018 Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, in September, the World Championship match in London in November and the Women’s World Championship match in China in May.
Mr. Georgios Makropoulos announces his candidature for the FIDE Presidency.
During the meeting, the Deputy President advised that he had been approached by the majority of the Presidential Board and many delegates asking him to run for President to sort out the present problems and ensure stability in FIDE. Therefore he announced his candidacy for FIDE President at the forthcoming elections in Batumi on 3rd October, 2018.