Ton zwischen ACP und FIDE verschärft sich

16.06.2004 – In einem offenen Brief hat Joel Lautier die FIDE daran erinnert, dass kurz vor Beginn der Weltmeisterschaft in Tripolis (Libyen) wichtige Fragen noch ungeklärt sind. Er weist u.a auf die Ungleichbehandlung der Spieler aus Israel hin, die erst am Flughafen in Tripolis erfahren werden, ob sie selber ein Einreisevisum bekommen werden und für deren Begleitpersonen es laut den Behörden in Libyen kein Einreisevisum geben wird. In seiner Antwort beschwert sich FIDE-Präsident Ilyumshinov über den von Lautier gewählten öffentlichen Kommunikationsweg, weist alle "Forderungen" durch die ACP generell zurück, und weist darauf hin, dass Einreise-Visa auch für israelische Spieler durch die libyschen Behörden schriftlich garantiert seien, wenn auch tatsächlich nicht für deren Begleitpersonen. Zur FIDE... Zur ACP...Offener Briefwechsel Lautier/Ilyumshinov...

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ACP Board [Wed May 26th, 18:27]



Dear Mr President,

The next FIDE World Chess Championship (WCC), to be held in Tripoli (Libya), between the 18th of June and the 13th of July 2004, is due to start soon and yet, many pressing questions remain unanswered. To begin with, although the deadline for reserve players to submit their undertakings has elapsed on the 5th of May 2004, no announcement has been made by FIDE regarding the final list of participants. Three weeks after the deadline and less than a month prior to the event, you will appreciate that such an announcement is long overdue. Secondly, the qualified players holding an Israeli passport, some of them representing a different country than Israel, are clearly concerned that they will not be allowed to enter Libya and will, as a result, simply be excluded from the World Championship.
Despite assurances from the FIDE Secretariat that visas will be granted to all participants, several facts have recently cast serious doubts on this claim.
1) On the 6th of May 2004, Associated Press have quoted Mr Mohammed Gadhafi, the President of the Libyan Olympic Committee, who also heads the Organizing Committee of the FIDE WCC, as denying that Israeli participants would be allowed inside Libya. The wording of the statement was very strong and left no doubt as to its meaning: the Israeli players are not welcome in Libya.
2) Upon inquiry at the Libyan embassy in Paris, it has been confirmed that a person applying for an entry visa to Libya should not have "an Israeli visa or a trace of passage on Israeli territory" in his or her passport, let alone have an Israeli passport. This necessarily implies that visas would be granted in exceptional conditions for the sole purpose of the FIDE World Championship, however, at this point in time, Libyan consular authorities do not seem to be aware of such exceptional measures.
3) For unclear reasons, the participants of the WCC will not be able to obtain their visas at any of the Libyan embassies in various parts of the world, but only upon arrival at the Tripoli airport. This effectively compels the Israeli participants to travel to an Arab country without possessing a visa, a most unpleasant condition given the tense geopolitical situation in the Middle East.
4) The Israeli Chess Federation has been informed by FIDE that only Israeli participants would be granted a Libyan visa, whereas accompanying persons holding the same passport, such as trainers or close relatives, will be denied entrance to Libya. This fact alone contradicts all rules of fair and equal treatment to all participants of a major sports event, it is certainly in breach with FIDE's Code of Ethics.

As the President of FIDE, an international sports federation affiliated to the IOC, it is your duty to ensure that qualified competitors from all origins are given equal access to the World Chess Championship. In view of the abovementioned difficulties, the choice of staging the most important event on the FIDE calendar in Libya is a poor one. Despite numerous open letters and press releases emanating from several national federations (namely those from the United States, Russia and Israel) and WCC participants themselves (namely the American player Boris Gulko), FIDE has consistently refused to consider reinstating Malta as a secondary venue. In the present circumstances, the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) demands that FIDE provide written evidence from the Libyan authorities, unambiguously stating that Israeli players will be granted a visa upon their arrival in Tripoli. In view of the problems that have arisen since the publication of the official invitation from the Libyan Olympic Committee, general formulas whereby the Libyan government "will pleasantly provide entry visas to all qualified participants" is no longer explicit enough. Unless that document is produced shortly, it is very unlikely that Israeli players will agree on a hazardous journey to Libya and therefore, they will be forced to renounce their participation in the WCC. At present, the assumption prevails in the chess world that this is precisely the way FIDE hopes this embarrassing problem will be settled. Such an outcome, however, would greatly tarnish the reputation of FIDE among other sports federations and would effectively render FIDE's acclaimed motto "Gens Una Sumus" totally meaningless.

It is our sincere hope that you, Mr President, will use your power to remedy this situation and will not allow the exclusion of the Israeli players from the World Chess Championship.


Joel Lautier
President of the ACP
Paris, 26th of May 2004



FIDE answer to the ACP Open Letter dated 8 June 2004

Elista, 8 June 2004


Mr. Joel Lautier
President of ACP

Dear Mr. Lautier,

I am aware of the fact that you have written an open letter to me where you address some concerns regarding the forthcoming World Chess Championship in Tripoli, Libya. I am not sure why you choose to contact me in this way through the mass media, instead of normal means of communication, and for future communication I suggest you contact me through the FIDE secretariat.

In your letter you "demand" that FIDE provide written evidence from the Libyan authorities stating that Israeli players will be granted visa upon arrival in Tripoli. First, Mr. Lautier, let me remind you that you are in no position to make demands from FIDE. Second, I can assure you that the FIDE official representatives upon my instructions and in close cooperation with the Libyan organizer, have worked hard to secure that all players including the Israelis, will get visa upon arrival.

The Libyan authorities has twice confirmed in writing that all qualified players will get visa and based on my personal contact with the Libyan leader H.E Moammar Al Ghaddafi, I am absolutely confident that this problem is solved. As I read your letter you seem to be of the opinion that the Israeli players are excluded from the World Chess Championship. I really cannot understand how you reach such a conclusion, but let me inform you about the reality of the matter. The Israeli players have either failed to sign the Players Undertaking or signed with conditions or withdrawn from the Championship after the deadline.

I understand that you have been in contact with the Libyan embassy in Paris and that they have confirmed that applicants for visa must not have" an Israeli visa or a trace of passage on Israeli territory". However, this can hardly come as a surprise to you since it has been the standard procedure not only for Libya, but also for many other countries in that region. This is exactly the very reason why the Libyan authorities have decided to issue the visas upon arrival. To secure a smooth handling of visa and to avoid misunderstandings from Libyan embassies all over the world, we have agreed to the present procedure.

I am somewhat surprised that you don't see the importance of having the World Chess Championship in Libya, during the time when the country is opening up to the international community in a way that has been widely appreciated by many top leaders of the world. The Libyan Chess Federation is a regular member of FIDE and the World Championship has the full backing of the Libyan Olympic Committee. We are confident that everything possible will be done to secure an excellent Championship fully in line with all FIDE regulations.

Regarding the issue of accompanying persons, coaches, spouses etc I agree that there is a problem and we have to amend the regulations. Libya however has fulfilled its obligations according to the present regulations.

When it comes to the announcement of the final list of participants, FIDE is only following the World Championship regulations and I suggest that you study the details. After the deadline for the players to sign their Undertaking, there is a procedure, whereby it takes several weeks to fill the vacancies.

FIDE has already published the final list of the participants as well as the pairings on its official site.


Kirsan Ilymzhinov
FIDE President


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