AICF asks for written apology from players seeking re-registration

The players interested in re-registration should also give an undertaking that they would henceforth abide by the existing bye-laws/rules of the All India Chess Federation.

The Central Council has decided that the players who interested in re-registration should be permitted to if they tender a written apology.   -  Getty Images

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has said players seeking re-registration would be allowed to do so if they tender a written apology and give an undertaking that they would abide by the rules of the federation.

The Central Council meeting held on March 23, 2019, decided that AICF's focus is not on punishment but on enforcing discipline and promoting talent.

Considering the lapse of time, financial difficulty expressed by players and the primary objectives of AICF, the Central Council has decided that the players who are interested in re-registration with AICF should be permitted to re-register if they tender a written apology.

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Also, the players should give an undertaking that they would henceforth abide by the existing bye-laws/rules of the AICF, the federation said in a statement on its website.

Meanwhile, Gurpreet Pal Singh, one of the players banned by the AICF, wondered why the federation was showing concern about the players now.

“Why at this point of time... why is the AICF suddenly showing a lot of concern for the players,” Singh, a former national junior champion, said on Saturday.

He said the Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year held that the undertaking prescribed by AICF for players’ non-participation in events not authorised by the Indian chess body contravenes the provisions of the Competition Act.

Singh said that the AICF had banned him, and three other players, in 2010 while the rule asking for an undertaking by players on not playing in unrecognised tournaments was introduced in 2011.

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“I was banned in 2010 along with three others for playing in unrecognised tournaments while the rule asking for an undertaking on not playing unrecognised tournaments was introduced in 2011. How can I be a judge for my conduct in 2010 when the rule came a year later,” he asked.

He said the AICF should not seek apology from the players adding “why should I.. what wrong have I done. I haven’t broken any law. ”

Singh also wanted the AICF to restore the chess ratings (ELO ratings) of himself and the other banned players and also register them again.

On July 12, 2018, the CCI held that the undertaking prescribed by the AICF for players regarding non-participation in events not authorised by it amounts to restraints that are in the nature of exclusive distribution and refusal to deal as defined in Section 3(f) and 3(4)(d) of the Competition Act 2002.

The CCI also imposed a penalty of Rs 6,92,350 on the AICF for infringing on the provisions of Section 4 of the Act.

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It said non-compliance with such an undertaking would result in banning of players and removal of their Elo rating, create entry barriers, foreclose competition and restrict opportunities available to chess players.

The complaint against AICF was filed by four chess players — Gurpreet Singh, Karan Duggal, Devendra Bajpai and Hemant Sharma — alleging contravention of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act.

The players were banned by the AICF from playing in chess tournaments for the past several years and their ELO ratings were also withdrawn.