08 May 2020

The FIDE Charter

The last post stemming from Minutes of the 90th FIDE Congress (April 2020) is on a subject to which I never paid much attention while it was being drafted and discussed : the FIDE Charter. For a summary of the charter, let's first turn to Fide.com, The new FIDE Charter: What is it? (March 2020):-

One of the main decisions at the recent 90th Extraordinary General Assembly was the approval of the new FIDE Charter, that replaces the old FIDE Statutes and came into force on March 1, 2020. But what does this change implies, and why it was required?

This reform was needed because the previous FIDE Statutes were severely outdated. There was a pressing need to renew them in order to turn FIDE into a more modern, transparent, democratic and efficient institution, in full compliance with International Olympic Committee stands. The main rules of our organization have a fundamental role in making this possible, clarifying the system of FIDE rules and regulations, defining the principles of FIDE, establishing clear management structures, improving the role of the independent Elected Commissions, and updating the role of Zonal Presidents.

The following image captures the 'FIDE Charter - Table of contents'.

Since the purpose of the 90th FIDE Congress and its Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) was to approve the charter, I extracted relevant portions from the minutes. It's perhaps too long for most people, especially those who aren't interested in chess politics, but it was the best way to force myself to read it!

90th FIDE Congress; FIDE Extraordinary General Assembly; Abu Dhabi, UAE; 28th February 2020; MINUTES

1. FIDE President address [...]

We did our best to be transparent and open in what we are doing, including the communications with the Federations and the chess players. The work on the Charter, which started a few months ago, was a very good signal of this. The proposed version of the new Charter was published and sent to all Federations, which then sent their own recommendations. [...]

One of the main items of today EGA Agenda was the changes to the FIDE Charter, which involved much work and study in order to make FIDE official documents more modern and consistent with the latest IOC practices. The draft of the new Charter has been presented to the IOC in order to receive their opinions and comments. We tried to develop a more democratic system which will allow the National Federations to play a more important role in FIDE activities. The draft of the Charter was sent to all National Federations a few months ago and all the comments received from the Federations were incorporated into the version of the Charter presented now at the EGA. The main ideas include regulating the hierarchy of documents, professional and transparent management, clear rights and responsibilities of Member Federations, fixing the commercial rights of FIDE, new system of disputes resolution. [...]

4. New FIDE Charter

Annex 2.1. is the draft of FIDE Charter, which was sent to all the Federations and was approved unanimously by the PB. [The TOC shown above is from that document.]

Mr. Dvorkovich illustrated the key points of the reform of the FIDE Charter, which were considered necessary to make FIDE a more modern, efficient and transparent democratic organization which would work in fully accordance with the IOC principles. The new structure of FIDE was clearly illustrated, focusing on the responsibilities and rights of each body of FIDE: GA, Council, President, Elected Commissions, Management Board. A clarification of the hierarchy of legal acts adopted by FIDE was also established. The role of the independent elected commissions was improved, and the role of the Zonal Presidents was updated.

Mr. Dvorkovich clarified the hierarchy of the FIDE bodies: the GA is the highest body of FIDE and can take any decision. There is a clear list of decisions that only the GA can take, including the approval of the Charter itself and of the most important regulations, including financial and electoral regulations. The GA is also the only body which can decide on the full membership of new Federations, on elections and other issues described in the Charter.

The Council is elected by the GA and adopts all other regulations not listed in the Charter and takes decisions on all strategic matters of FIDE functioning, including financial matters and tournaments. The President reports to the Council and annually to the GA and manages day-to-day activity of FIDE and represents FIDE in all its external relations.

The elected commissions are independent, take decisions about ethics, constitutional matters, elections and verification issues. The other bodies cannot intervene in the decisions of the elected commissions. They should work in a professional way, their members should have sufficient experience to resolve those matters.

The Management Board is not an independent body. It supports the President in day-to-day activities and reports directly to the FIDE Council. It is an operational body that follows the instructions of the GA and the Council.

To ensure transparency, a vote of no confidence was introduced in the regulations. The GA can decide on no confidence regarding both the President and the Council.

In the existing version of the Statute, less than a half of the PB members were elected independently of the President. To ensure democracy, in the proposed Charter, more than 50% of the voting Council members are elected by the GA without the direct influence of the President. The Treasurer and the Secretary are also elected by secret ballots.

The GA has more powers as compared to the current Statute. It deals with all major issues, including the election, the budget and the vote of no confidence. It can overrule any decision of the President and the Council.

The abolition of proxies was established not only for the elections, but for any other matters. The Presidents and the delegates can represent only one Member Federation and should be really affiliated to their country (having citizenship or residence or working experience in the elected bodies of their Member Federation).

It was decided that the Council should consist of 15 members, working on a full-time basis. It has both executive and legislative functions, which means that all matters which are not regulated by the GA can be resolved by the Council. It defines strategic plans and policies, approves the draft of the FIDE budget, ratifies the decisions taken by the President and supervises the activities of non-elected commissions. The World Champions are invited to each Council meeting, but they do not have voting rights.

It was also decided that the President cannot serve as President for more than two terms, including the current term. The President represents FIDE officially and have the following main functions: to sign contracts, to assume obligations for FIDE, to maintain good relationships between FIDE and the National Federations.

The Management Board is a new body. Actually, it already exists, but without any formally approved functions. The new Charter clearly established its functions. It is an executive, operational and administrative body with full-time working staff with the aim of making FIDE a more efficient organization. The MB is appointed by the Council.

The independence of the Elected Commissions’ members represented another important aspect of the proposed new Charter. It was decided that they should not be elected at the same time as the FIDE President to preserve the political independence of their election. Starting from the next election, qualification requirements for the Elected Commissions’ members will be introduced.

The functions of the Ethics Commission were expanded. This body becomes now the “Ethics and Disciplinary Commission”, with seven instead of five members. The reason for this is that FIDE needs professional people who will also analyse and investigate specific matters, rather than just gather occasionally to take decisions.

A fixed hierarchy of documents was established to clarify the system of FIDE rules and regulations. There will be no other rules or regulations in FIDE. FIDE Handbook will be refreshed to have a clear set of documents regulating the activity of FIDE. It is reminded that all documents must be published on FIDE website in order to become operational.

Mr. Rivello, who could not attend the Congress due to the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, participated to the Congress through a Skype call in order to answer any eventual questions about the Charter draft. Mr. Rivello reported about the work of the Task Force charged with the drafting of the new Charter.


The EGA proceeded with the voting through the open vote system. The new Charter was approved and comes into force on March 1st, 2020. The vote results were: 112 votes in favour, 1 abstention and 1 voted against.

Of particular importance to anyone interested in top level chess is the stipulation that 'the President cannot serve as President for more than two terms'. This will avoid a recurrence of the 23-year period (1995-2018) that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov served as FIDE President. Like any other organization, chess administration routinely needs new blood to avoid becoming ossified.

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