By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, May 14 (IANS): The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is too much concentrated in Russian hands while it should be made international, said Enyonam Sewa Fumey, vice-president of Togo Chess Federation.
Forty-year-old Fumey, who is also a member of FIDE's Social Commission, will be crossing swords with FIDE president and former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections to be held in Mahabalipuram, near here.
"We don't care about Arkady's nationality but we care about FIDE being too much concentrated in Russian hands today, it is important to make our organisation become international, as it should be," Fumey told IANS.
According to Fumey, an International Chess Arbiter, FIDE's policy on the issue of sport and politics is selective and arbitrary.
He also said Dvorkovich has fulfilled part of his poll promises made in 2018, bringing in Russian sponsorship.
Citing FIDE's recent cancellation of Russian corporate sponsorship deals over Russia's military action against Ukraine, Fumey said Dvorkovich's best asset is lost for him.
"I can assure you that we can do better, and in a better way," he said.
Fumey said his team is contesting as it has ideas, plans and programmes for chess to flourish in the whole world -- the big and the small.
"We plan to implement very simple ideas to bring FIDE to the next level. These ideas flow into four directions like the four cardinal points, which would make FIDE benefit from all winds," he remarked.
In addition to having a sensible approach on the issue of sport and politics ensuring collective and straightforward, Fumey said, "FIDE management will reduce exposure to external political issues by involving a broader range of countries in its future operations. We will bring additions to the existing administration, while avoiding any subtraction. Incoming goodwill will be added to existing goodwill."
On the issue of freedom of speech for players as a primary citizen of a country, Fumey said, "At FIDE, we plan to have a less active role regarding world political issues.
"We will guarantee freedom of speech in the same limits as the United Nations," he said.
Recently FIDE had banned one of the world's top players and Russian Grandmaster (GM) Sergey Karjakin for supporting his country's military action against Ukraine.
Be that as it may, Fumey's team's other three cardinal points are: "Broaden its sponsorship base, the marketing department will be strengthened. Negotiators will benefit from a small predefined percentage of the sponsorship contracts signed."
"FIDE will support all Level 4 and 5 Development countries by funding a yearly grant of USD25,000. The funds will serve to build the visibility and the marketability of our beloved game in their territories. They may use this fund to employ a professional federation marketing manager, whose main task will be to generate independent revenue for the federation, through the organisation of events and coaching programmes and others," Fumey remarked.
On the campaign strategy he said, "We are doing it in a very amateur way and people volunteer in assisting us. We are building the plane while flying."
Queried about the chess federations that support him -- European, African, Asian and others -- he said, "All chess lovers are supporting us, irrespective of their origin, race, wealth or otherwise, all chess lovers! We are not counting or analysing votes, we are trying to bring chess lovers from all over the world together."
On Dvorkovich roping in former world champion and India's GM Viswanathan Anand for the post of deputy president, Fumey said, "We love competition as all chess lovers, and it is an honour to face a world GM, world champion many times. People say I am GM too, but in loving chess, so the game will be fair."
Looking back at the four years of FIDE under Dvorkovich, the hits and misses, he said, "FIDE machine is working effectively, but with my team, in a collaborative spirit with the current administration, we will ensure to deliver more and in a more efficient way, especially towards small federations. It was surprising, that as soon as we got elected as a ticket in 2018, just the day after, a FIDE Management Board was created and the organisation totally changed its operations."
Fumey was part of Dvorkovich's team initially as FIDE's general secretary between 2018-2021.
He said he resigned as general secretary due to ideological differences on certain issues, especially regarding development and treatment towards small federations.
For Fumey, his proposed July visit to India will be his first ever visit to the country.
"I have extremely high admiration for India, a model of effective grassroots development. I love a lot of things about India -- movies, music, people. We Africans in general feel so close to Indian people," Fumey said.