Israeli chess players denied visas for event in Saudi Arabia

first_img Since you’re here… Middle East and North Africa Share on Twitter Saudi Arabia Topics Share on LinkedIn Israel Chess Share on WhatsApp newscenter_img Share via Email Support The Guardian Share on Pinterest Israeli players have been denied visas to participate in a speed chess championship hosted by Saudi Arabia this week, a vice-president of the World Chess Federation (Fide) has said.Seven Israeli players had requested visas for the tournament, taking place from 26-30 December. It would have been the first time Saudi Arabia had publicly hosted Israelis, as the Gulf state does not recognise Israel and there are no formal ties between them. The Fide vice-president, Israel Gelfer, speaking in Athens where the body’s secretariat is based, said visas for the Israeli players “have not been issued and will not be issued”. He said the tournament would go ahead as planned. It was not immediately clear whether other delegations had been excluded but players from Qatar had suggested they may have been rejected. Saudi Arabia’s Centre for International Communication said in a statement that more than 180 players would participate, but it did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Lior Aizenberg, a spokesman for the Israel Chess Federation, said efforts were still being made “by various parties” to allow Israeli players to take part. “The event is not a world championship if they prevent chess players from several countries from taking part,” Aizenberg said. “Every chess player should have the right to participate in an event on the basis of professional criteria, regardless of their passports, their place of issue or the stamps they bear.” Aizenberg said Fide should ensure Israeli players could compete in international events and that the Israeli federation was considering all options, including legal action and holding an international competition in Israel for players excluded from the Saudi match. In November, Fide said it was undertaking a “huge effort” to ensure all players were granted visas. … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more