ECF loses case

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Jonathan Rogers
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Jonathan Rogers » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:17 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:
....
The earlier comments suggesting that the Board should have considered the possibility of adverse political consequences or retaliation are based on the assumption that it didn't. It did. It should be borne in mind that the ECF, in common with many other federations, was known not to be supportive of the current FIDE regime well before this case. We were already somewhat in the firing line.


An odd reason to push ourselves to the front of the queue, and to suffer the opprobrium of member states who may not have been too bothered about our general opposition to Kirsan but who are bothered about the alleged shortage of funds caused by the action. Of the other seven countries who supported the earlier action, five thought this fight was no longer worth the candle.

Andrew Farthing wrote: I'm disappointed by the suggestion that, had we anticipated that the President of the Turkish Chess Federation would take it upon himself to discriminate against arbiters from countries whose federations had taken legal action against FIDE, it should have altered the Board's decision to pursue the case. Whether one agrees with it or not, the ECF had the right to undertake the action against FIDE. To imply that this right should be foregone because of the possibility of behaviour like Mr Yacizi's just perpetuates such bullying tactics.


If the action is about something very fundamental which affects us, then of course we have to fight, whatever the consequences. But that was not this case. It was about FIDE doing something involving Vice-Presidents which did not directy affect us and which they would have been allowed to do anyway, if only they has asked the Assembly. The action - in the CAS, not in the less costly Ethics Committee - was sponsored by a political opponent of Kirsan and the co-suitor, Georgia, was no doubt also motivated by political considerations (Zurab is no longer a friend of Kirsan). That is the background to the action, and the background against which the possibility (likelihood) of retaliation falls to be considered.

(I wrote this before seeing Sean's post - we seem to agree, but I've written it, so I'll post it anyway!)

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:19 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:I was at least right about the one Director who opposed the action leaving the Board! What were your reasons for opposing the action, Andrew?

Sorry, Jonathan, but I'm not getting into that. In the end, I'm a member of the Board: I respect its decisions and share in the collective responsibility for its actions.

I hadn't planned to reveal how I voted at all, but I was concerned that your mistaken statement would become accepted historical fact if uncorrected.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Jonathan Rogers » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:23 pm

understood, though it seems odd that we are publicly disagreeing over an issue on which we presumably privately agree!

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:24 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote:The earlier comments suggesting that the Board should have considered the possibility of adverse political consequences or retaliation are based on the assumption that it didn't. It did. It should be borne in mind that the ECF, in common with many other federations, was known not to be supportive of the current FIDE regime well before this case. We were already somewhat in the firing line.


An odd reason to push ourselves to the front of the queue (...).

I never said that it was a reason for taking the action; it was part of the assessment of the potential political consequences. There's a difference.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:33 pm

Andrew,

Perhaps you will be kind enough to explain why it was correct to take legal action when it was but not to take legal action when ECF members had quite clearly been discriminated against. If it was right the first time, then surely it was more right the second?

Does anyone really care how many VPs FIDE has especially when the were voted in by the General Assembly. On the other hand lots of people care how Lara and Sean have been mistreated. Surely the first concern of the ECF is to its members. This seems to have been ignored to a greater extent.

I doubt many people thought how much damage the court case would have caused but it is worrying that you seem to be saying that the Board did not consider a worse case scenario when making its decision. That does not inspire confidence.

No matter what your thoughts of the FIDE President the ham fisted way in which this matter has been handled can only cause his position to be strengthened. On those grounds alone some people should be looking to resign.

The creditors of Glasgow Rangers FC felt their money was safe, I trust the hopes of the ECF Board will not be equally misplaced.

With regard to the Olympiad arbiter selection, Chess Scotland had been pushing for me to go to such an extent that Danailov was persuaded to send a letter asking for me to be added to the European list. Despite that when Chess Scotland were asked to put my name forward alarm bells still rang with the Scottish officials concerned and attempts made to clarify Lara's position. If Chess Scotland had these concerns why is it that the ECF did not? Is the ECF Board really admitting that they are incapable of forward planning? It certainly looks like that. I await reassurances to the contrary.

I would also like to know if any Director intends to apologise to those most affected by this fiasco or is it likely to be like another incident where an initial statement is made and nothing follows?

With regard to the question of are there other candidates for the Board positions, my research leads me to believe that there are people out there who would like to get involved but they are put off by the current structure and by the thought that they might be a lone voice. My feeling is that these peolple will not surface until after 'none of the above' are elected wholesale. To make it clear - I am not advocating such a situation merely reporting vibes I am picking up.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby LawrenceCooper » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:35 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:
Jonathan Rogers wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:Who was the director who voted against?


Loz Cooper, unless I have misunderstood.

You have. It was me.

The earlier comments suggesting that the Board should have considered the possibility of adverse political consequences or retaliation are based on the assumption that it didn't. It did. It should be borne in mind that the ECF, in common with many other federations, was known not to be supportive of the current FIDE regime well before this case. We were already somewhat in the firing line.

I'm disappointed by the suggestion that, had we anticipated that the President of the Turkish Chess Federation would take it upon himself to discriminate against arbiters from countries whose federations had taken legal action against FIDE, it should have altered the Board's decision to pursue the case. Whether one agrees with it or not, the ECF had the right to undertake the action against FIDE. To imply that this right should be foregone because of the possibility of behaviour like Mr Yacizi's just perpetuates such bullying tactics.


I voted yes on the condition that we had a cast iron guarantee in writing that we would not be liable to any costs.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:38 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:... although mistakes were made (not least forgetting to inform Council what we were doing) they were not the fault of any individual director.


I'm afraid I can't agree with this Mike. Clearly the FIDE delegate was and is primarily responsible for reporting the matter. That it was not reported is fundamentally down to him. Whether that becomes a resigning matter is a matter of opinion.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:46 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:understood, though it seems odd that we are publicly disagreeing over an issue on which we presumably privately agree!

I didn't think I was disagreeing with you, except insofar as I corrected one error of fact.

I've scrupulously avoided offering my personal opinions about the subject, because in the end they're a side issue. I have tried to address the substantive points, such as:

- Was the Board empowered to take this action without Council approval? (Yes.)
- Did the Board weigh up the political risks in taking its decision? (Yes.)
- Did the Board take steps to protect the ECF from any adverse financial consequences. (Yes.)
- Was the decision the responsibility of one or two individuals? (No. The Board discussed it vigorously and at length. Each Board member reached his own conclusion.)
- Should the Board have briefed Council earlier. (Yes.)
- Was it a deliberate policy decision or the result of legal advice that it did not brief Council earlier? (No.)

and:

- Was it the right decision to take the action in the first place?

This last question comes down to a matter of opinion. The Board as a whole applied its best judgement, which is what it is elected to do. It's for others to decide whether it was the right choice.

Finally:

- Have lessons been learned?

The Board heard the clear message from Council concerning the failure to brief them about the case and, although I maintain that this was not a deliberate choice at the time, the very fact of it reduces the likelihood of similar oversights in future.

The Board also heard the views expressed by Council about the decision to take action and will, I am sure, take these into account in its future actions.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:54 pm

Andrew,
I would be most grateful if you would answer my questions. It would also be nice if the President and FIDE delegate would make a reappearance on this forum. The President was elected on a platform which gave assurances that he would have a more public profile than those who came before.

Indeed how many Directors still think that the legal action taken was more important than taking legal action to protect the arbiters?

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:56 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Perhaps you will be kind enough to explain why it was correct to take legal action when it was but not to take legal action when ECF members had quite clearly been discriminated against. If it was right the first time, then surely it was more right the second?

I took legal advice at the time. This indicated that the prospects of success in a legal action were negligible. Further, the advice was that there was no prospect at all of legal action leading to Lara and Sean being appointed. You cannot use the law to force someone to employ an individual; you can only seek a financial settlement. The advice was that, in the very unlikely event of a legal action proving successful, the financial detriment that could be demonstrated would be small at best.

Since the objective was, if at all possible, to give Lara and Sean the opportunity of which they had been deprived, my judgement was that the only prospect of achieving this - albeit a slim one - was through political and public pressure.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:02 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:I took legal advice at the time. This indicated that the prospects of success in a legal action were negligible. Further, the advice was that there was no prospect at all of legal action leading to Lara and Sean being appointed. You cannot use the law to force someone to employ an individual; you can only seek a financial settlement. The advice was that, in the very unlikely event of a legal action proving successful, the financial detriment that could be demonstrated would be small at best.

Since the objective was, if at all possible, to give Lara and Sean the opportunity of which they had been deprived, my judgement was that the only prospect of achieving this - albeit a slim one - was through political and public pressure.


Had the ECF acted quickly they could have prevented the invitations to arbiters from going out and then let FIDE decide on the merits. Lara was one of the 10 ECU nominated arbiters so it was not a case of her being selected but more a case of her being deselected which quite clearly is a legal issue. Are you saying that you sought legal advice on the wrong issue?

Surely the amount of the financial settlement is irrelevant, it is the merit of the cause. Wasn't that the reason for the CAS case? Please at least be consistent.
Last edited by Alex McFarlane on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:03 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:I would also like to know if any Director intends to apologise to those most affected by this fiasco or is it likely to be like another incident where an initial statement is made and nothing follows?

I can't speak for the other Board members, but I have no intention of apologising for the unacceptable behaviour of the President of the Turkish Chess Federation. Naturally, I regret that all of the rejected arbiters have suffered as a result of Mr Yacizi's actions, but I think that you are losing sight of the culprit here.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:06 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Had the ECF acted quickly they could have prevented the invitations to arbiters from going out and then let FIDE decide on the merits. Lara was one of the 10 ECU nominated arbiters so it was not a case of her being selected but more a case of her being deselected which quite clearly is a legal issue. Are you saying that you sought legal advice on the wrong issue?

No. You appear to be suggesting it, and you are wrong.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:08 pm

[quote=I can't speak for the other Board members, but I have no intention of apologising for the unacceptable behaviour of the President of the Turkish Chess Federation. Naturally, I regret that all of the rejected arbiters have suffered as a result of Mr Yacizi's actions, but I think that you are losing sight of the culprit here.[/quote]

No I just believe that there is more than one culprit.

Are you now agreeing that Lara was deselected? That surely is different from not being selected.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF loses case

Postby Alex McFarlane » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:12 pm

Andrew I didn't ask you to apologise for the actions of the Turkish Chess Federation. I asked if the Board was going to apologise for its actions which lead up to that decision by the TCF.

You didn't believe in the merits of the case in the first place, let those who did try to defend their actions and to apologise for the consequences of them.


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