The FIDE president has spent 579,000 euro on travels in three years

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov under Kandidatturneringen i Moskva. Foto: WorldChessKirsan Ilyumzhinov under Kandidatturneringen i Moskva. Foto: WorldChess

The World Chess Federation could face serious financial trouble.

by Tarjei J. Svensen

FIDE’s financial accounts for 2015 is a worriness for more than 190 federations worldwide. The accounts show a huge deficit of nearly 1 million euro the last year.

The numbers are revealed by FIDE’s own audit reports ahead of the congress held during the chess olympiad in Baku in September.

The deficit is dramatic for a global organization that only are able to generate income of 2 million Euro. After two years of spending more money than earning, the reserve fund has shrunk from around 2 million euro to just 300,000 before the start of 2016.

Agon-sjef Ilya Merenzon under pressekonferansen i VM i Berlin i fjor. Foto: Tarjei J. Svensen

Agon-sjef Ilya Merenzon under pressekonferansen i VM i Berlin i fjor. Foto: Tarjei J. Svensen

The numbers reveal that FIDE repeatedly overspent, while they also had to cover unexpected costs in addition to not receiving money they had budgeted.

One example is that Agon, the company owning the rights to organize the World Championship cycle, did not pay FIDE the fees for the World Rapid & Blitz Championship. In a statement to Chess.com, CEO Ilya Merenzon says that the condition for hosting the event was that the fees would be waived.

FIDE have also not received the fees from the Ukrainian hosts of the World Championship match between Mariya Muzychuk and Yifan Hou.

Another unexpected expense, is FIDE’s journalist award when the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK and Russian journalist Sergey Makarychev both received 20,000 Euro.

The biggest cost though, seems to be be legal costs of roughly 183,000 euro related to the case in CAS against Silvio Danailov.

The controversial ex-ECU president has reacted strongly on his own website.

«This is completely unacceptable», he furiously says.

Ilyumzhinov’s 579,000 Euro travel expenses in three years

FIDE-president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov med VGs Nora Thorp Bjørnstad. Foto: Yerazik Khachatourian

FIDE-president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov med VGs Nora Thorp Bjørnstad. Foto: Yerazik Khachatourian

Among the most remarkable expenses, are Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s enormous travel costs.

In 2015 the sanctioned FIDE president spent 183,204 Euro on travels alone, 63,000 more than budgeted.

That is in addition to the record year 2013, when Ilyumzhinov spent 211,594 Euro on travels.

Berik Belgabaev, Ilyumzhinov’s regular assistant is not much worse than his boss. The only employee on FIDE’s Moscow office has spent 72,045 Euro on travel costs alone, according to the accounts.

In total in the last three years, the duo has spent an astounding 794,226 Euro on travels.

There are reasons to believe that a significant part of these expenses in 2013 and 2014 are directly related to the election during the chess olympiad in Tromsø that led to Ilyumzhinov’s additional four years in office.

His opponent Garry Kasparov promised on the very last day to donate 10 million dollar directly into FIDE’s accounts if elected.

The day after Kirsan Ilyumzhinov promised to double the amount – and transfer it on the same day.

Shortly after, Ilyumzhinov had to admit it was all a big bluff. 20 million dollar was money that he had already spent on chess, his claim was.

Peter Doggers, innholdssjef på Chess.com. Foto: Tarjei J. Svensen

Peter Doggers, innholdssjef på Chess.com. Foto: Tarjei J. Svensen

FIDE treasurer: «I paid my own expenses»

It’s the renowned chess journalist Peter Doggers of Chess.com who has dug into FIDE’s financial accounts in a thorough article published last week.

The journalist published the story titled «Is FIDE Going Bankrupt?», speaking to several people within FIDE. Among them, is FIDE’s own treasurer Adrian Siegel.

The Swiss did overstep his own travel budget.

«I had to go to the Athens office more often to see what is going on. I paid myself for the last five trips.»

Doggers points at several structural problems inside the organization and thinks it’s a serious problem that the Presidential Board and its members can overstep budgets without any consequences until the next meeting a year later.

FIDE has defended themselves by saying that 2016 is expected to be a considerably better year because of income from both the chess olympiad and the World Championship match in New York.

Ilyumzhinov in more trouble

FIDE’s finances is not the only worriness Ilyumzhinov has these days.

Last week the president was not allowed to board a plane to New York. According to Russian Chess-News.ru, the airline Delta said that he was put on a no-fly list by American authorities.

The FIDE President is trying to defend himself against accusations of material support to the Assad regime in Syria, while the Russian himself claims he has just donated chess sets to the country.

Presidenten prøver å forsvare seg mot anklager om økonomisk støtte til Assad-regimet i Syria, men hevder selv han bare har levert sjakksett til det krigsherjede landet.

«I didn’t have any commercial relations with Syria, and all of my connections with that country and many others, are purely humanitarian.», Ilyumzhinov said to New York Times.

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