The 92nd FIDE General Assembly took place yesterday, December 28, and for the first time ever, it was organized under a hybrid format. While most of the delegates participated through videocall, and votes were cast online, the FIDE President, Management board, and several members of the Council were present in Warsaw, where the World Rapid and Blitz Championship takes place.
As it has become a tradition, the meeting began with a video In Memoriam in remembrance of the chess family members who passed away during the year. The President summarized the highlights of the year, including all the FIDE main competitions and FIDE's social initiatives, one of the areas where our organization made more progress over the past few months.
The report of the Treasurer Zhu Chen and discussions on financial matters demonstrated that FIDE is in good financial shape. The approach of presenting the FIDE budget has been changed to presenting gross income and expenditure, which allows for more transparency and resembles the best practice of our peer international sports federations.
Such profound change comes from the implementation of what can be considered a change in our business model. In the past, FIDE outsourced organization of most Events, including World Championship Matches, to third parties. But shortly after the new management team took office in October 2018, FIDE has been building capabilities to organize event and acquired back the right to stage the World Championship Match. "This is a major change of business model for FIDE that requires us to review our financial reporting and budgeting process," explains Chen. "While the pandemic forced us to postpone the implementation of our new business model by almost two years, the recent World Championship Match has proved that FIDE is on the right track."
The budget for 2022 is balanced and established at a total income and expenditure of 12.84 million EUR. "The Development Fund has been doubled, which means many opportunities for great projects", explains Dana Reizniece-Ozola, FIDE's Managing Director. It must be noted that, in 2021, more than 80% of the income was generated by sponsorship, donations and broadcast rights, compared to 48% in 2020, and 4,8% in 2016. In other words, the income from licenses and fees paid by member federations and chess players has been reduced from 95,2% in 2006 to less than 20% in 2021.
Another important step forward was the approval of a New Ethics and Disciplinary Code, a pivotal document to provide FIDE with better governance policies and increased transparency. The new Code is the product of intensive work and review over the past year.
"It is the mission of FIDE to promote the highest possible ethical values within the sport of chess and to ensure that the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship prevails. The Code sets out ethical values, principles, duties and proper sanctions applicable throughout the chess community and sport," explains Francois Strydom, Chairman of the FIDE Ethics & Disciplinary Commission.
In the same direction, a new set of FIDE electoral rules were approved for the electoral procedure that must take place in 2022. This document defines the scope of application and general principles, the eligibility and nomination and candidates, the ethical considerations to observe during the campaign, the designation of the electoral commission, and the counting of votes, among many other details. These new rules also imply a strong stance for an increased gender balance, something particularly important in a year that has been designated by FIDE as "The Year of Women in Chess".
Finally, we are happy to announce that the FIDE family keeps growing. To begin with, the request to join FIDE by four new Federations was approved. Dominica, St.Vincent and Grenadines, Niger, and Belize, are now members of FIDE. FIDE will be happy to host the new member federations in the World Chess Olympiad in Moscow next year, and also provide them with development funding and capacity building support. They are already taking the first steps, and for instance the St Vincent and Grenadines Chess Federation just held its first national championship ever. On December 17, Chinedu Benjamin Enemchukwu was crowned as the first national champion in this Caribbean country.
FIDE also awarded a new title of a FIDE Honorary Member. The 92nd FIDE General Assembly voted unanimously in favour of awarding the title of "FIDE Honorary Member" to Andrey Filatov, President of the Chess Federation of Russia, for his special contribution to development of chess. Over the entire history of FIDE that counts nearly 100 years, the honorary member title has been awarded to about 80 people, including one of the Federation founders, Lord Frederick Hamilton-Russell, world champions Max Euwe and Boris Spassky, world women's champions Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze, the oldest grandmaster in the world Yuri Averbakh, the inventor of the universally adopted in chess ELO system, Arpad Elo, and the leaders of the Soviet Chess Federation Boris Rodionov and Vitaly Sevastyanov.
Please visit the FIDE Congress website for a complete information.
Photo: David Llada