FIDE Throws Down the Gauntlet

The issue of FIDE drug testing has been debated for the last two years, but we have just learned from Peter Wilson, the FIDE representative from the Island of Guernsey, that a document pack has just been received from FIDE containing forms for players to sign, consenting to being drug tested.

Mr. Wilson informs us that any player who does not sign the forms will not be allowed to play in the World Chess Olympiad in Bled later this month.

The question is: What will happen next?

Here is what I believe will happen: The United States Chess Federation will send its regular team of chess players, who have already been selected. Some or at least one of those players will refuse to sign the FIDE consent to drug testing form. Some FIDE official will then inform those players that they cannot compete in the Olympiad. Nevertheless, the US will submit its already decided line-up, which will include those team members who have refused to sign.

Players from other countries will join in this protest.

Now, what will happen? If FIDE expels the US team from the Olympiad, probably several other countries will follow suit. In short, the Olympiad will be disrupted and perhaps not held at all.

Here I must point out that the blame for this entire situation must rest on Steve Doyle and Jim Eade. Doyle told the USCF delegates in no uncertain terms at the USCF meeting at Cherry Hill in August that there would be no drug testing in Bled. He repeated this statement loudly many times, virtually yelling it. Doyle was lying, because he knew that there would be drug testing at Bled.

However, that is past history, which cannot be changed. The question is now, the crisis is about to be upon us. What will happen next?

The letter from Peter Wilson of Guernsey follows.

Sam Sloan

At 02:50 PM 10/11/2002 +0100, Peter Wilson wrote:

I find this discussion interesting in some respects and confusing in others - partly because those involved in the discussions are in some way confusing several issues ... including FIDE, IOC, NOCs, 'National "Laws"', etc.

One thing is clear - like it or not ... (and I note that quite a few people don't like it, but those who have said they don't can be numbered in their dozens - rather than their millions !!) ... there WILL be Drug-testing at the 2002 Bled Olympiad UNLESS FIDE President himself (or FIDE Presidential Board meeting in emergency session) makes a ruling that it will not take place. It was clearly stated in Istanbul that it would be an IOC requirement that drug-testing MUST take place in Bled (and it SHOULD have happened in Istanbul, but FIDE were granted a one-off extension until Bled). That much is very clear.

The time to have opposed this was either at Istanbul - or had the membership realised it then at the time FIDE applied to affiliate to the IOC.

What I have in my possession - which I don't think anyone else in the group will have seen is a 'document pack' sent to our Federation as we are playing in the Bled Olympiad. This includes forms to be signed by players and a declaration of any prescribed drugs being taken by a player (to be signed by his Doctor or 'medical Advisor' - I don't have the form before me so can't recall the exact wording). We have copied the forms and sent a copy to each of our players. I think that when we get to Bled each player will be given a form and asked to sign to consent to drug-testing. This was agreed at Istanbul - no confusion over this ... IT WAS AGREED in General Assembly. I'm not talking about the 'rights and wrongs' of it - just what the position actually is.

Now - refusing to take a test is NOT 'Presumption of guilt' ... it (as I have likened it to drink-drive breath-tests) is a separate 'offence' (for want of a better word) to refuse to take a test. Only those players who have signed the agreement to being tested (if required) will be allowed to compete in the Olympiad. Those who sign and then refuse to take a test are at fault because refusing to take the test is an 'offence'.

I note the proposed motion to be submitted to the FIDE Drug Commission - but they will not meet for many days after the Olympiad starts ... by then it will be too late and some tests may already have been taken.

Can I note that it is NOT essential for FIDE to be affiliated to the IOC (or even for chess to be recognised as a sport) for a Chess Federation to be granted money by a National Olympic Committee. The first Olympiad I played in was Novi Sad 1990 and I played against the US Virgin Islands ... their team gave us pin-badges which had the Olympic-Rings Logo on it and we were told that this was because their own NOC had given them some money towards the Olympiad costs !!! So there you go !!

I do notice that there were many many e-mails which I ploughed through in this group in the basis that US GMs would refuse to take part in drug-tests at Bled ... but this was eventually (after a long time) followed by an e-mail from Joel Benjamin saying that no decision had been taken by the US Olympiad players on this matter.

This bears out what I have said more than once ... don't assume ... if you 'Think' someone means something or is planning to say or do something then ASK THEM DIRECTLY .... don't assume. A great deal of time could have been saved if someone had actually asked the USA Olympiad Team whether they had made any decision and if so what it was !!

It is clear that IF FIDE is to remain within the IOC (personally I don't think it should) then FIDE will have to assure the IOC that drug-testing will take place at FIDE Official Events. All else is subject, as John Fernanadez has rightly said - to NOC requirements or to the requirements of individual countries who provide money for chess or other 'sports'.

Can we now close this long-debated subject.

Peter Wilson

FIDE Throws Down the Gauntlet

FIDE Throws Down the Gauntlet, part 2

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