ECF loses case

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Camp
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Camp » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:10 pm

Do you guys like...you know...ever...play chess?
Chairman of North Wales Junior Chess Association
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Michele Clack
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Michele Clack » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:13 pm

Fair point Andrew :lol:

Lara Barnes
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Lara Barnes » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:13 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote 'nil cost' - I thought FIDE were having to pay some of the costs? WE ARE PART OF FIDE therefore it has cost CHESS and therefore US.

Sorry for shouting but I am getting a little frustrated. At some point in the future I will let people know what an ill timed venture this was and how it destroyed a great number of years of hard work for the good of chess.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:25 pm

Ian Thompson wrote: And so it should be within the ECF's normal duties. It would be remiss of the ECF not to review and comment on proposals issued by FIDE. I see no need to know exactly how much money has been spent doing this before the accounts are issued. At that point any abnormal expenditure can be challenged.
Isn't this exactly what FIDE has said to us? You can challenge board minutes only when they are published 6 months later. This is of course too late to bring about any action through CAS.

Once ECF accounts are published many months later, it is really too late to challenge/question anything.

Ian, most people believe that things ought to be reviewed, but is this legal expense/approach a necessity? Maybe it is and maybe it is not. All we ask is that we are told what is going on (truthfully) and kept abreast of monies spent. If other people are funding it, to tell us and if not then to tell us also.

We wish for FIDE to be clear and open and honest, then surely the ECF has to do the same?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:29 am

Andrew Camp wrote:Do you guys like...you know...ever...play chess?
Hey, I played chess last night at the GLCC Summer Tournament! It was great fun. 15 minutes per player for the whole game and 5 games between about 7pm and 10pm. It would have been cheaper to enter if I had been a member, but still a not unreasonable entry fee. Sadly I didn't write down the moves played (I do for 30 minutes per game rapidplays, but didn't for this one as there was less time). One very interesting position, but will have to see if I can reconstruct the game and final position or not...

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:49 am

Krishna Shiatis wrote:Please do read his response to the question Steve, that he actually wrote about this document - it is carefully worded. I quote below his exact words:

"I stress: no legal action, no cost to the ECF. This is all within the framework of FIDE processes and entirely within the normal scope of what the Board is there to do. We have a duty as a member of FIDE to apply constructive challenge to any proposed amendments to its Statutes, and this is what we are doing. For those who have argued earlier in this thread that we should be working to reform FIDE from within, this is an example of our trying to do precisely that."

Unless I am wrong, he is actually saying it is 'at no extra cost' to the ECF as what they are doing in commissioning this report is within their normal duties.
Krishna,

I am sorry if I am not making myself plain, although I would point out that it is you who is introducing ambiguity where there was none.

My reply was carefully worded. I wrote "no cost to the ECF" because that is what I meant and because it is the truth. You chose to suggest that I was "actually" saying, "at no extra cost". I don't know why you think the words "no cost" mean something other than what they say, but you are mistaken.

I'm not sure how I can be any clearer about this.
Lara Barnes wrote:Andrew Farthing wrote 'nil cost' - I thought FIDE were having to pay some of the costs? WE ARE PART OF FIDE therefore it has cost CHESS and therefore US.

Sorry for shouting but I am getting a little frustrated. At some point in the future I will let people know what an ill timed venture this was and how it destroyed a great number of years of hard work for the good of chess.
I think that this is confusing the legal action in CAS with the current subject, which is the memorandum submitted to FIDE regarding their proposed revision of the statutes.

As I have already written, there is no reason why the fact that we have submitted a document constructively challenging some of the revised text for consideration at the General Assembly should cost FIDE anything. (I have no idea whether the drafting of the revised statutes in the first place cost FIDE money or whether it was produced from within their existing resources, but that is a matter for them.)

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:57 am

Andrew Camp wrote:Do you guys like...you know...ever...play chess?
Good question. I used to, but dealing with stuff like this has caused me to drop from 20 congresses a year to just one since the start of this year. It's one of the reasons that I've chosen to spare myself the pleasure of standing for re-election in October.

I am going to be playing at Paignton in September. By then, I'll be needing a crib sheet next to the board remind me how the funny-looking bits of plastic move.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:04 am

Quote Andrew Farthing: "Krishna,

I am sorry if I am not making myself plain, although I would point out that it is you who is introducing ambiguity where there was none.

My reply was carefully worded. I wrote "no cost to the ECF" because that is what I meant and because it is the truth. You chose to suggest that I was "actually" saying, "at no extra cost". I don't know why you think the words "no cost" mean something other than what they say, but you are mistaken.

I'm not sure how I can be any clearer about this." End Quote

Thank you Andrew. I am just trying to find out exactly what is going on.

Who exactly is paying for this memorandum then? Is it the Bulgarians, the Americans or Mr Kasparov? Did the legal firm in question do the case pro bono?

I only ask because once again, our name is on the document.

Please do not repeat about the 'no cost'. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant and do understand the various connotations of this phrase.

I also agree with Lara, that this entire exercise is costing us in some way or form and at the very least chess is losing out each time we get knocked back by FIDE.

Even though Mr Kasparov has funded the initial legal action. It has still cost him has it not? Would those monies not have been better spent elsewhere?

Yes, we can state this after we found out we lost, but we did not really get the chance to say it before the action was initiated because most of us did not even know that a legal action was taking place in our name. Even when we did find out, nobody explained exactly what it was about.

Just as we have been told nothing about this 'memorandum' until Nigel just dropped it in passing.
Last edited by Krishna Shiatis on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:34 am

Andrew,

You have misunderstood Lara's point. If the FIDE costs are not repaid in total then that money has to be raised from somewhere (or services cut). So it is likely that ECF members will pay extra. An example of this is the FIDEregistration scheme for arbiters with fees ranging from €20 for a national arbiter at the British to €300 or so at the top end. This is being charged to cover the money lost in the previous case. Why are you so certain that a similar type of fund raising activity, or even simply increased rating fees, will not be charged?

I think you are either being very optimistic when you say that it will not cost ECF members anything or removed from the real world. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Experience indicates that the opposite is indeed the case and ECF members will bare some of these costs.

Considering the arbiting situation, if these costs do come into place then arbiters who currently work for nothing will be seeking to at least recover those costs so all players at FIDE rated events will need to pay more.

I know you have a banking background where the government bail out the mistakes made, but that does not happen in chess circles.
Last edited by Alex McFarlane on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:43 am

Bob,

I agree Lara is doing a fantastic job. Andrew is doing a good job, perhaps restricted by other Board members. However, it is clear that often Andrew is unaware of the bigger picture. Did the FIDE delegate inform him of these proposed charges for arbiters and the potential knock on effect? I very much doubt it but am willing to be advised otherwise.
David Sedgewick has pointed out another piece of non-information which it was, presumably the Marketing Directors job to pass on.

Without the support needed Andrew cannot do a fantastic job because he has not been given the full facts or has to assume responsibility for the (non)actions of his officials. Whilst there is collective responsibility, as with any organisation, the bucks stops with the CEO who either has to take it or get rid of weak links.

Steve Rooney
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Steve Rooney » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:47 am

Bob Clark wrote:and on and on and on it goes.

it seems to me that:

a) Andrew is doing a fantastic job as CEO
b) Lara is doing a fantastic job organising the British championships

I suggest the rest of us leave them to get on with it
I empathise with your feelings Bob, however further up this thread there is a grossly unfair accusation that the CEO is not telling the truth. I believe that should be withdrawn and then we can move on.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:53 am

Of course, having a legal firm produce the memorandum was not free, but it was paid for by a third party and therefore cost the ECF nothing. There is no outstanding liability, contingent or otherwise, relating to the memorandum, so it is a very different situation to the guarantee in respect of the CAS action while it was ongoing. The cost of the memorandum was paid directly by a third party to White and Case and has no impact on ECF accounts at all. For this reason, I shall respect the confidentiality of the third party.

In my opinion, putting forward a constructive challenge to the proposed revision to the FIDE Statutes is a positive step and forms part of any national federation's responsibilities as a member of FIDE which cares about the quality and soundness of its governing framework. I realise that it is hard to avoid cross-contamination in people's minds between their views on the CAS action and the production of this memorandum about the proposed revision to the FIDE statutes, but I would ask that you try.

As I've said before, putting our weight behind this memorandum is the right thing, morally, to do. There doesn't seem to be any dispute on this forum with the contention that FIDE needs reform. Some of those who objected to legal action said that it would be better to work to change FIDE from the inside. Proposing changes like this to the General Assembly is what working from the inside looks like.

If viewed separately from the CAS action (and I think it should be), I would suggest that this could be summarised as: the ECF (along with the USCF and Bulgarian Chess Federation) is doing a good and worthwhile thing in constructively challenging some rather dubious proposed amendments to the FIDE Statutes and has managed to enlist the assistance in this challenge of a professional legal firm to express its arguments without having to use its own precious funds to do so, thanks to the financial support of a third party. This is a course of action which I feel no qualms about defending.
Krishna Shiatis wrote:Even though Mr Kasparov has funded the initial legal action. It has still cost him has it not? Would those monies not have been better spent elsewhere?
You could say this about anything. Every time I buy a chess book or enter a chess congress, you could argue that my money would have been better spent by donating it to, say, a cancer charity. The brutal fact of the matter is that Mr Kasparov, like everyone else, can choose how to spend his own money. I imagine that he would argue that money spent achieving positive change in FIDE will have a greater positive impact on chess in the long run than accepting the status quo. Who's to know which view is correct?

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:58 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:Andrew,

You have misunderstood Lara's point. If the FIDE costs are not repaid in total then that money has to be raised from somewhere (or services cut).
I don't think I misunderstood. I was suggesting that Lara's point applied to the CAS legal action, which undoubtedly cost FIDE money. My reply was pointing out that the thread had switched to discussing the financial implications of the memorandum submitted to FIDE, which I contend is part of internal FIDE processes and has no cost implications for FIDE outside the normal routine of the General Assembly.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:11 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:Of course, having a legal firm produce the memorandum was not free, but it was paid for by a third party and therefore cost the ECF nothing. There is no outstanding liability, contingent or otherwise, relating to the memorandum, so it is a very different situation to the guarantee in respect of the CAS action while it was ongoing. The cost of the memorandum was paid directly by a third party to White and Case and has no impact on ECF accounts at all. For this reason, I shall respect the confidentiality of the third party.
Of course it was not free - somebody always has to pay.

Thank you Andrew. This is where I believe you are telling us the direct truth. Just for the record, I do not believe that you ever lied, I think that you just did not tell us the direct truth. I did understand what 'no cost' meant - I just wanted you to explain how it was being funded and (as you have explained above) some of the details.

Whilst you were in possession of these details, we were not.

I am not entirely sure why you did not say this in the first place. I am just trying to find out exactly what is going on. I believe that we should all take an interest in what is happening and who is funding what because the reputation of the ECF is important. It is the name of the ECF that everyone will see on the legal document that is 'the memorandum'.

I do not know who this third party is or how much they spent, but I am a little concerned/curious about the fact that there is yet another mysterious third party funding stuff on our behalf.

If tomorrow, my husband rolled up in a Ferrari and said

"Don't worry about it love, somebody else paid for it, it did not cost us a penny..."

Whilst I would be very happy, I would still like to know who paid for it, what exactly were their reasons (altruistic or not) and what might be the long term consequences.

I do agree with much of what you are saying Andrew and am not questioning how well or not you are doing your job. I just feel that everything is not always as it seems and always telling us the direct truth - especially when we ask you directly - rather than using words to try and hide stuff, will mean that we can all understand better what is happening.

Also, there is just no point in trying to hide stuff, it all comes out in the end.
Last edited by Krishna Shiatis on Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:23 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:However, it is clear that often Andrew is unaware of the bigger picture. Did the FIDE delegate inform him of these proposed charges for arbiters and the potential knock on effect? I very much doubt it but am willing to be advised otherwise.
David Sedgewick has pointed out another piece of non-information which it was, presumably the Marketing Directors job to pass on.

Without the support needed Andrew cannot do a fantastic job because he has not been given the full facts or has to assume responsibility for the (non)actions of his officials. Whilst there is collective responsibility, as with any organisation, the bucks stops with the CEO who either has to take it or get rid of weak links.
It's dangerous to conclude that someone is unaware of the bigger picture simply because their judgement of what it means is different from your own.

As for publishing the news about the memorandum, it would be unfair to point fingers at the FIDE delegate or the Marketing Director. The decision about timing was mine. Nigel Short delivered the documents to FIDE on June 6th and asked me in an e-mail about putting them on the website. My view was that it was not urgent - it related to matters to be discussed at the General Assembly months away and was a normal part of the work of the ECF and its FIDE Delegate, with no financial risk attached, and therefore not the type of matter which would be routinely published on the website as a matter of urgency. The CAS ruling was reportedly imminent (as we now know, this "imminence" was to continue for some time, but I did not know that then) and I felt that there might be an opporunity for a more coherent message in the light of the CAS ruling, whatever it said.

As I hope I have made clear by now, I believe that the constructive challenge set out in the memorandum is a wholly good and worthwhile endeavour and entirely appropriate for the ECF to be engaged in. I am pleased that we are doing it and have no reason to hide the fact. My reasoning was based on trying to achieve a clear and coherent message, a wish made complicated by the uncertainty over the timing of the CAS ruling and what it would say.

It was, therefore, my decision to await the CAS ruling. If my judgement was mistaken, the blame is mine, no one else's.

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