Over the past few decades, the Olympiad has been a form of political stage, considering the various meetings held during the event, whether during an election year or not; but more so during election year, as we have on our hands this year. Funds have been disbursed and dispersed as FIDE deemed fit and not necessarily by the structure it was meant to protect.
Considering the fact that quite a number of African federations are struggling to put their federation’s finances in order, and the lack of same for various federations, FIDE’s statutes made provision to support virtually all federations participating at the Olympiad in terms of grants, which these federations use to either augment their various travel expenses or enjoy the fullness of the support.
But over the years, the funds that were meant to support federations, have been used as political ingredients, used to cook campaigns and frustrate opposition members to points of denying federations that truly deserve the funds in place of those that support their mandate and vote likewise.
In a bid to ensure that this does not happen again in this election year, questions are being asked, and FIDE needs to answer the call, so as not to risk being put in the same old boat as the past, which we all hope is truly past.
During the submission of the Georgian Chess Federation’s bid to host the 2018 Chess Olympiad, they stated that they would provide a million and two hundred thousand euros(€1,200,000) for federations that would be needing travel subsidies, of which a number of African federations are meant to benefit from.
Now the questions are as follows:
- According to Mr Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Georgia have paid the subsidy to FIDE, can it be confirmed that this has truly happened?
- If the funds have been remitted to FIDE, what is the allocation criteria that Fide would use to determine which federation gets what, from the subsidy?
- Four years ago, the list of beneficiaries was released on the 21st of June, and now we are in July, when will the list be made public?
- Considering the fact that most African federations need to book their flight tickets early to save costs, when would these funds be made available to each federation? Before, during or after the Olympiad?
These are pertinent questions that FIDE needs to answer Africa Chess Federations as well as the world soonest, otherwise it starts to look like there are ulterior motives with the travel subsidies for this election year, once again.
Once these questions are answered, African federation presidents and delegates would understand that the issue of travel grants has long been attended to, and they can vote with a clear conscience, as to who they believe would lead both Africa Chess and Global Chess to the pinnacle of success.
With forty-seven (47) federations, Africa is only second to Europe in the number of chess playing countries and if united, can determine where the vote swings. This, in my opinion, is the major reason why FIDE leaders have been using the “divide and rule” concept with the continent for this long and doing next to nothing to help develop chess on our continent.
Africa Chess Confederation is currently a subsidiary of FIDE and have depended majorly on FIDE for her resources and sustenance, which makes the continent a source of ridicule when other federation leaders from other continents are discussing or making bold statements like “an African delegate should not have the same voting right as an European”.
Africa Chess needs to evolve and develop partnerships within major organizations on and off the continent, which would ensure that we are able to take care of our own, and not depend on FIDE’s resources, thereby curbing several unnecessary loyalties that have been detrimental to the development of this life changing tool called “chess”.
Wake Up Africa!! Arise Africa Chess!!