Letter to the World Chess Federation Regarding Disciplinary Action Against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

December 06, 2018

In a letter to the World Chess Federation’s Director General, Emily Sutovsky, ADL commended the organization for taking disciplinary action against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their discriminatory practices against Israeli competitors.

December 5, 2018

Mr. Emil Sutovsky
Director General
World Chess Federation (FIDE)
9 Syngrou Avenue
11743 Athens, Greece

Dear Mr. Sutovsky:

I wish to commend the World Chess Federation (FIDE) for taking appropriate disciplinary action against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its nationality-based discriminatory practices that make it impossible for athletes from Israel to fully participate in tournaments in the country.

As you may recall, ADL wrote to FIDE’s Deputy Chair Georgios Makropoulos in December 2017 following Saudi Arabia’s decision to refuse entry visas to the Israeli players qualified to participate in the World Chess Championship taking place that month in Riyadh. At that time, we wrote in our letter that “we call upon you as FIDE’s Deputy Chair to penalize Saudi Arabia for its policies this year” and to ensure “that if Saudi Arabia continues with this policy, it will not be eligible to host future championships.”

We are greatly appreciative of your actions on this matter. As you know, the politicization of international competitive events has unfortunately become an all too frequent occurrence for Israeli participants. I hope FIDE’s action sends the message that FIDE will not tolerate discrimination of any kind in international competitions, encourages the Saudi government to change its discriminatory policies, and serves as a model for other international associations to ensure that such discrimination is addressed in similarly appropriate ways wherever it occurs.


Sharon Nazarian
Senior Vice President, International Affairs
Anti-Defamation League