Lara Barnes wrote: (addressed to CJ de Mooi) Yesterday, before the British Championships prizegiving and having first spoken with the principal organisers, I spoke with you expressing my personal concern at the appropriateness of presenting the prizes wearing a T-shirt. The custom at the British Championships has always been for the presenting dignitary to adhere to the event's "smart casual" dress code, and I felt that I had an obligation to raise the matter.
I did not at any time seek to give the impression that I was seeking to prevent you from presenting the prizes and was in no way expressing opposition to or hostility towards the Stonewall UK message. I support Stonewall's campaign and personally raised Â£200 for the charity at the Sunday night quiz to 'buy' your membership of Jon Edwards's team.
I sincerely apologise to you if, despite my intentions, the way that I expressed my concerns led to a misunderstanding. You have made an enormous positive contribution to this year's Championships and to English chess since becoming ECF President, and I would not want a misunderstanding to be the cause of your ceasing your involvement.
CJ de Mooi wrote:As I have already stated, I no doubt overreacted to Lara's comments (and I have expressed my admiration for her and the fellow arbiters) and should have referred the matter to the board (a short delay for a call to the Home Director) before discussing it with other people.
I was upset (although at no time have I used emotive terms such as 'homophobia' or 'discrimination') but that does not excuse my error of judgement.
I was extremely sorry to hear that Lara has been receiving very unpleasant emails (I have personal experience of this and know how distressing it can be) and deplore such actions. I am unaware how anyone got her contact details and this represents an intolerable invasion of privacy.
If it is considered someone else can do a better (or at least less harmful) job, I am happy to step aside but the decision on my resignation is still pending.
I truly regret any distress my actions have caused and it's never my intention to be offensive.
CJ de Mooi
At the London leg of the 2010 National Club Finals I was asked, in the absence of any ECF Director at Golden Lane, to present the trophies. My avatar gives a distinct clue as to which shirt I was wearing that afternoon. There was no arbiter on hand to suggest that I should have done otherwise, but that is another story.I would have been equally disappointed if the prizegiver at the Championships had worn the shirt of his favourite football team as I feel that would have detracted from the photograph taken when the trophy was presented (eg Would a Sheffield Wednesday supporter want the moment of his crowning glory to be recorded for posterity with someone in a Sheffield United shirt ?)
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