UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

International Chess Federation investigates UKLFI  complaint about Lebanese player refusing to play Israeli

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is reviewing a complaint by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) about a Lebanese youth player who refused to compete against an Israeli player at a chess festival in Abu Dhabi in August 2022.

The incident happened at the 28th International Chess Festival in Abu Dhabi. Nadia Fawaz of Lebanon refused to compete against Israeli player Elijah Grosman in the fourth round of the competition, withdrawing from the event to avoid meeting him. Her previous matches in the tournament had been against Arab competitors from Brunei, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Head of the Lebanese Chess Federation, Khaled Bdeih hailed her action in interviews, saying she acted in that way to signify solidarity with the Palestinian people and to criticise Arab countries which have ‘normalised’ their relations with Israel.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah leader Sayyed Nasrallah singled out Nadia Fawaz for praise in his speech, along with Charbel Abou Daher who withdrew from the 2022 Youth Mixed Martial Arts World Championships to avoid playing against an Israeli opponent:  “Our bets are placed on youths like Charbel Abou Daher and Nadia Fawaz who refused to face Israeli contenders,”

UKLFI wrote to FIDE explaining that the action taken by Nadia Fawaz was contrary to FIDE’s rules, against the wider rules and ethics of sport  (including those of the IOC to which FIDE is committed) and against the spirit of sporting competition.

UKLFI has asked FIDE to take appropriate action against Miss Fawaz, the Lebanese delegation and the Lebanese Chess Federation.

UKLFI’s full letter to FIDE, setting out the breaches of the rules is HERE.  UKLFI has received a response from FIDE saying that their legal department is reviewing the letter.

Sam Green, a director of UKLFI commented:  “We ask that FIDE shows leadership over this incident.  The terrorist group Hezbollah is using children to achieve its aims.   FIDE is being drawn into a sectarian conflict when a FIDE tournament is used for political agitation. If FIDE does not want to be used, to have its events undermined for the political aims of others, to allow young people to be used to further other peoples’ causes, then action must be taken now, in this case. This is also a safeguarding issue as politicians and adults in the delegation seem to be imposing their will on youth players, something that ought to be of great concern to FIDE.”

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