Settling dues & conducting hybrid national tourney immediate target: AICF’s Chauhan

By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Jan 12 : The new team at helm of All India Chess Federation (AICF) will start settling its dues once its bank account is de-freezed and plans are afoot to conduct the national chess championship in a hybrid model, a senior official has said.

He also said the federation will also initiate the process for starting Indian Chess League (ICL) and is looking forward to a smooth litigation free functioning for the benefit of all the stakeholders.

“All the pending dues for the employees, tournament organisers and others will be settled soon once the AICF bank account is unfrozen. As per my reckoning, the grants received from the central government will be about Rs 30 lakh for organising tournaments last year. The tournament organisers will be paid their dues. Similarly, dues of employees and others will be settled,” Bharat Singh Chauhan, who was recently re-elected as the secretary, told IANS.

The chess body’s accounts were frozen by the Indian Bank following the elections and its cancellation by the Madras High Court early last year and the confusion as to who is the authorised signatory for banking transactions.

“Steps are being taken so that the federation is back on the rails. The Election Officer appointed by the Madras High Court has submitted his report to the court. The signed copy of the election papers was given to us. We have also sent the papers to FIDE, the global chess body to recognise the new team at the helm,” Sanjay K Chadha, Legal Counsel for Chauhan, told IANS.

Chauhan does not foresee the team which lost the elections going to the court against the poll results.

“Former president P.R. Venketrama Raja had called and congratulated me soon after the results were declared. We also met him during our recent visit to Chennai. Similarly, we also met D.V. Sundar, the former vice president of AICF here. The two meetings were cordial. Further Raja had also written to FIDE (global chess body) about the election results. There were no hurdles in our assuming office,” Chauhan said.

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According to him, the immediate tasks on his hands are the preparation of the annual report and also a report to the Income Tax department.

Speaking about the proposed Indian Chess League, Chauhan said he expects five-six corporate sponsors and the work will be delegated.

Many Indian chess masters are eagerly awaiting the league as it would provide them with livelihood as many government departments and public sector units (PSU) have stopped recruiting sportsmen.

With the central government looking at disinvestment options in PSU’s, those who have been earlier hired under the sports quota are also worried about their future.

According to Chauhan, the immediate target is to conduct the national chess championship in a hybrid model — making players travel to the playing centre nearest to their city — and then play the game online.

Queried about the demand raised by the Chess Players Forum to include prominent chess players in its management as per the National Sports Development Code, Chauhan said: “We will seek clarity from the government-whether 25 per cent reservation is in the elected body or in the general body. As per our understanding 25 per cent of the elected body should be of prominent players.”

The AICF’s elected body consists of 15 officials.

“Presently the national champions — Open, Women, Juniors and Girls — are also in the governing committee,” Chauhan said.

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On roping in five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand as the Advisor, Chauhan said: “He is a very experienced player. We will be benefitted by his experience, expertise for our various programs like Chess in Schools and others,”

On various contentious issues raised by him during the election process, Chauhan said they will be discussed and decided at the general body meeting.

The new AICF team will also restructure all its existing committees and also form new ones as per its plan of action for developing chess in the country.

Similarly, the nomination of officials to FIDE posts will also be decided by the general body, he added.

According to Chauhan, the federation will also reduce the various fees to benefit the players and state associations.

“We don’t want to be a litigation happy team. We want to solve issues in an amicable manner. With legal costs going up, we would amend our bye-laws to form an arbitration panel so that disputes could be settled through arbitration before approaching the courts,” Chauhan said.

On the issue of withdrawing appeal filed against the order of Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chauhan said: “The appeal has to be filed as there are deeper issues to be decided. But the rules have been amended for readmission of the banned players. They can play in the tournaments and they can get registered with AICF without submitting any apology letter.”

Chauhan also said there will not be any downsizing at AICF Chennai. The chess body recently decided that its Chennai and Delhi offices would work on alternate days owing to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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