Iran warned continued boycott of matches against Israelis will lead to FIDE ban – Insidethegames.biz

Grandmaster Chess

Iran has been warned that it will be banned by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) if it continues to order its players not to compete against Israelis or boycott events involving the country.

A resolution submitted to the FIDE General Assembly by English grandmaster and vice-president Nigel Short says the failure of the Iranian Chess Federation (ICF) "to request their players compete against all countries in FIDE before the next GA, or any future boycott by an Iranian player, will automatically result in the ICF's suspension from all FIDE activities".

Short had told Chess24 earlier this year that the ICF's stance of refusing to play against Israelis in major chess competitions was "absolute in-your-face racism".

The FIDE vice-president cited 12 incidents in the last year where Iranian players coming up against Israelis were forced to concede matches or withdraw from tournaments, including promising chess star Alireza Firouzja, who announced he would no longer play under the Iranian flag in December 2019 after the country withdrew its players from the 2019 World Rapid and Blitz Championship to uphold the ban on facing Israelis.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich sent a warning to the ICF in June, telling the body that it would take action if it maintained its anti-Israel policy.

Dvorkovich said there had been "repeated cases where athletes from Iran refused to participate in games with Israeli citizens".

"It is important for FIDE that everyone abides the Charter, therefore we ask the ICF to confirm in writing its position on the admissibility of the mentioned games (between Iranian and Israeli players)," he wrote.

"Failure to give such confirmation will force FIDE to discuss the compliance of Iran's Chess Federation's values with the principles of FIDE and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)."

In response, the ICF claimed it has been "constantly working in compliance with the rules and efforts of FIDE, and adhere to FIDE's statutes".

Iran's refusal to recognise Israel has frequently entered the sporting realm in recent years.

The country has forbidden its athletes from competing against Israelis at international sports events since 1983.

Iran has largely avoided any sanctions, except for a ban imposed by the International Judo Federation (IJF) after the Government ordered judoka Saeid Mollaei to withdraw to avoid facing an opponent from Israel at last year's World Championships.

The IJF suspension has been appealed by Iran at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the case was heard in September.

Pressure has grown on the IOC to suspend Iran in the wake of the death of wrestler Navid Afkari, who was executed in September after he was allegedly tortured into confessing to the murder of a security officer during anti-Government protests in 2018.

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