Russian Sports Suspended for 2 Years!
Tough Days Ahead for Russian-controlled FIDE
The axe fell today on the Russian sports world. CAS decided to support WADA’s 2019 decision to ban all Russian sports from international events. That the term of suspension was reduced from 4 years to 2 years is hardly reason for the Russian athletes to celebrate. The ban is effective immediately and ends on the 16th of December 2022.
Why does this affect a chess organization like FIDE? For two reasons: FIDE has been a vassal of the Russian oligarchs since 1995 — totally financially dependent on Kremlin money — and chess is a sport in Russia, and therefore will be treated as such under international law. (Remember also that FIDE is a member of both the IOC and WADA.)
The decision is seen as a double-whammy against an already fragile FIDE. The pandemic has reduced FIDE’s operations to less than 5% of its normal activities. Not since the spring has FIDE organized any over the board events. Despite the optimism and the PR operation in the recently held FIDE General Assembly, FIDE is on the verge of internal collapse.
Virtually all sponsors have ended their cooperation with FIDE until the pandemic can be sorted out. (The 2021 World Championship will not happen if Dubai cancels (again) its exposition). Bids for tournaments have disappeared until atleast 2024, and Dvorkovich has found it necessary to run to Mother Russia for help last week. This is Dvorkovich’s public statement:
Now that CAS has made its decision to support WADA’s ban, Russia will not be able to organize or participate in any world championship or international calibre event until atleast 2023.
That means that Dvorkovich’s hopes of relying on the Kremlin’s support to pick up the slack will likely disappear. The prospects of FIDE remaining inactive for 2 or 3 years is now on the table. Will FIDE survive? Or will FIDE meltdown in political uncertainty and turmoil?