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AICF offers 'dissidents' final chance

January 13, 2005 20:34 IST

AICF Secretary and FIDE Vice-President P T Ummer Koya offered a final opportunity to players, led by GM Dibyendu Barua, whom he termed "dissidents", to return to the '64 squares' to help the Federation realise its dream of making India the top nation in the world by 2012.

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Koya's offer came in the wake of the stand-off between the All-India Chess Federation and the newly-formed Chess Players Association of India.

"They are only about 35 in number and wanted the 4000-member Federation to recognise them as an all-india association which is impractical," Koya said.

AICF had already reversed its decision to deduct 10 per cent of players' prize money, said Koya, who took over as the Secretary 15 years ago.

"None of these players who are now making such a hue and cry were of any prominence earlier till the Federation came forward to promote their talent," he said.

Hitting out at Abhijit Kunte, S S Ganguly, P Harikrishna and Sandeepan Chanda for openly dissenting against the Federation by wearing black badges at an international tournament in Pune last year, he said "this is a clear attempt to divide the Federation and scuttle its ongoing efforts to promote the sports."

Listing out the AICF's achievements since he took over, Koya said besides insuring about 1000 players, the Federation had also spent over Rs 25 lakh to conduct training camps with the help of international coaches.

"The next AICF meeting, scheduled to be held in Raipur in March, will take up the issue of indiscipline involving these players, which also amounts to defaming our nation during an international tourney," he said.

By convening three press meets, one in Kolkata and two in Delhi, to air their views against the Federation, the players had clearly violated norms, Koya said.

"It is highly regrettable that after having reaped all the benefits from the AICF, the players have now suddenly decided to degrade it in public," he said.

On WGM Nisha Mohota's exclusion from the team for the recent Asian championship, which the CPAI alleged was a 'biased' decision, he said "the only reason is that she was not qualified as a national rank holder or as a FIDE-rated
player to represent the tournament."

If they were really interested in redressal of their grievances, the players should have first contacted AICF rather than rushing to the media without ascertaining facts, Koya said.

He alleging that it was unfortunate that the players were now seriously engaged in gaining the support of others by threatening them with non-cooperation if they refused to join CPAI.

Referring to the charges that he boycotted a meeting in Delhi on January 10, Koya, the first full-time Secretary of AICF, said "the fact is that I had an appointment with S Krishnan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Sports, on the same day at 4.30 pm and I left the place only after addressing the gathering."

"AICF Treasurer, Summan Majumdar and a senior Federation representative from Bikaner, S L Harsh were also with me when we met the Joint Secretary in Shastri Bhavan," he said.

Claiming that there were serious differences between the members of the Pune District Chess Association and the Maharashtra state unit, Koya alleged that some of them, along with the Kolkata-based players, were behind the present propaganda against the Federation to destabilise it.

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