Will Israeli players be allowed next year?
Israel chess federation calls for compensation for Saudi visa ban
January 4, 2018 Kaplan Contributor
Israel chess federation demands compensation for Saudi visa ban Israel’s chess governing body is seeking compensation from the organizers of an international chess competition in Saudi Arabia after its players were denied visas to participate in the tournament.
The King Salman World Chess Championships Blitz & Rapid which runs from December 26 to 30 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, would have united the best chess players from all over the world, had it not been a visa snub which precluded Israeli participants from entering.
The two Middle East countries do not have any diplomatic and economic ties, as Saudi Arabia along with many other Arab countries doesn’t recognize Israel as a state.
Spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in the US Fatimah Baeshen explained Saudi’s stance on the issue by saying that “the Kingdom has allowed the participation of all citizens. The exception is whereby the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has historically not had diplomatic ties with a specific country-thus has maintained its policy.”
Israel Chess Federation spokesman Lior Aizenberg has accused Saudi Arabia of undermining the World Chess Federation’s (FIDE) basic principles which state that no player should be refused participation in events.
He also that Israeli players who were denied entry to the kingdom “were professionally and financially damaged.”
The Israel Chess Federation insists that FIDE should safeguard the rights of its athletes and prevent similar incidents in the future. “Every country hosting an international event will commit to hosting Israeli chess players.