Coronavirus, FIDE and Leadership Skills
UAE suspends all flights from China
This is an escalating crisis that has the potential to do some pretty scary stuff to the whole world before it comes under control. Just in the past 24 hours another 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus world wide have been made public. Today Switzerland mega-company Swatch cancelled a trade show that was to be held in Zurich between February 28 and March 6.
Sports Events Affected up to Now
The following is a list provided by Reuters:
* The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which had been scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed until next year. World Athletics is working with organisers to settle on a date to host the biennial event in 2021.
* The Asian Athletics Association cancelled its Feb. 12-13 indoor championships in Hangzhou.
* Australian officials are seeking to reschedule AFC Asian Champions League matches after their government imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals arriving from China.
Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG were due to play Perth Glory and Sydney FC next week.
* A four-team women’s Olympic soccer qualifying tournament involving China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand was moved from Wuhan and rearranged to be held in Australia by the AFC.
Organisers were also forced to change the match schedule after China’s team, which arrived in Australia on Jan. 29, was placed in quarantine in Brisbane until after Feb. 5.
* The Chinese Football Association said domestic games at all levels would be postponed.
* The all-electric Formula E motor racing series abandoned plans for a race in Sanya on March 21.
The move puts Formula One in the spotlight, with Shanghai due to host the Chinese Grand Prix on April 19.
* The International Tennis Federation moved the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I event featuring China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Uzbekistan out of Dongguan to Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) in Kazakhstan.
But the Feb. 4-8 event was later postponed after Kazakhstan declined to serve as substitute hosts.
* The Feb. 25 to March 1 China Masters tournament in Hainan was postponed after several players withdrew. The BWF said it hoped the flagship Badminton Asia Championships could still go ahead in Wuhan from April 21-26.
* The International Olympic Committee announced Jordan as hosts of the boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania after an event in Wuhan was cancelled. It will now take place in Amman from March 3 to 11.
* The International Basketball Federation moved the Feb. 6-9 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers to be held in Foshan to Belgrade.
* The elite women’s LPGA golf tour cancelled the March 5-8 Blue Bay tournament to be held on Hainan.
* The sixth edition of the Hong Kong Ladies Open, scheduled to take place from Feb. 28-March 1, was postponed to May 8-10.
* The Feb. 14-16 Longines Masters of Hong Kong showjumping leg was cancelled.
* Skiing’s governing body cancelled the Feb. 15-16 World Cup in Yanqing.
* The first winter X-Games scheduled to be held in China, in Hebei province from Feb. 21-23, was postponed.
FIDE & the Coronavirus
Time for FIDE to show LEADERSHIP
As I wrote yesterday, the conspicuous lack of any sort of coronavirus-information on the FIDE website, or the absence of a reassuring “ we are carefully monitoring the situation” underscores the inexperience of the new FIDE leadership appointed by Dvorkovich when he took control of FIDE in October 2018.
Most of the people the president appointed to positions of executive responsibility are unskilled chessplayers with no real-world experience in running organizations. The technical term ‘unemployable’ might be the most precise way to describe them.
The situation is becoming alarming as two major FIDE events are to start sometime in the next month, and quite possibly they will have to be cancelled and re-scheduled.
FIDE Extraordinary Congress
Abu Dhabi, UAE
February 26 to March 1
Just about 3 weeks until FIDE delegates from all over the world are to meet in the UAE, which has already suspended flights to and from China. FIDE has not yet made any public statement that recognizes the concerns, risks and dangers of meeting should the present situation continue to develop.
Further more, experts warn that once the coronavirus reaches the African continent the existing health infrastructures will be unable to contain it, compounding already uncertain and fragile perspectives.
March 15 to April 5
This important championship is to determine the challenger to World Champ Magnus Carlsen later this year. Two of the 8 participants are from China. Some countries have already put travel bans on Chinese residents so as to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Should the situation not soon come under control, then it is clear that the Russian authorities will cancel the tournament. Note that a vaccine against coronavirus is not expected before the middle of 2020 at the earliest.
Candidates Tournament Post Script
LINK. Readers can read more at this link. It makes perfect sense for FIDE to anticipate the quarantine period, not knowing how circumstances might change between now and then. However, this global health crisis is out of anyone’s control, and FIDE should today be prepared to postpone the tournament should things get worse.