Moscow, March 29 (IANS) International chess federation, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov claimed on Wednesday that FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman and Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos attempted to stage a coup within the federation.
On Monday, FIDE’s official website posted a statement on Ilyumzhinov’s supposed resignation. It stated that FIDE’s president announced his decision to step down at a meeting of the organisation’s council in Athens on March 26. However, Ilyumzhinov rejected this report while talking to Tass news agency.
“I demanded from Nigel Freeman, the executive director, to post a retraction after the FIDE official website posted an announcement on my resignation,” Ilyumzhinov told journalists. “I wrote him letters and called him on the telephone.”
“He switched off the phone,” Ilyumzhinov said. “The same thing did Makropoulos, although I knew that he had been all that time at the FIDE headquarters in Athens.”
Ilyumzhinov told Tass on Tuesday that his attempts to get in touch with the federation’s secretariat were being ignored and his explanatory letter regarding the situation had not been considered by Makropoulos and was not published on the official website.
Ilyumzhinov’s official letter was published on FIDE website only on late Tuesday afternoon and in response to it FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman stated: “During the Presidential Board Meeting in Athens, you several times threatened to resign and at the end of the meeting, three times you repeated ‘I resign’ before leaving the room.”
Addressing a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Ilyumzhinov said he did not intend to resign over US sanctions, which were imposed against him.
“Last year I have handed over part of my obligations, which concerned financial activities, to FIDE Vice President Makropoulos,” Ilyumzhinov said. “It was done despite many people’s advice not to do that.
“However, I wanted the tournament for the chess crown to be held in New York dedicating it to our favourite chess player Bobby Fischer and no sanctions could have been in the way to hold the tournament,” the FIDE president said.
“However, during the previous Presidential Board’s session some of its members began exerting pressure on me. Some of the members started talks on the 2018 elections, while some expressed opinions that it was time for me to leave,” Ilyumzhinov added.
In November 2015, the United States Department of Treasury slapped sanctions on Ilyumzhinov stating that he had been “materially assisting and acting for, or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria”.
The Russian businessman denied the allegations saying he had no commercial interests in Syria.
The FIDE chief announced his plans last spring to go to New York for the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship in November of 2016 and hoped that the US-imposed sanctions would be lifted by that time. However, his hopes were dashed and Ilyumzhinov had to watch the battle for the World Chess Crown online.