The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has eliminated the restrictive undertaking that the players had to provide at the time of registering themselves with the body, which sought to follow the Competition Commission of India’s order.
However, Gurpreet Pal Singh and Karun Duggal have called the move as an “eyewash”. The duo was banned and stripped of their FIDE ratings for allegedly engaging in unauthorised tournaments.
They said that although the AICF has removed the undertaking from the registration form, the state associations continue to enforce the condition. They also added that it is clearly mentioned in brochures for the upcoming tournaments.
“It’s an eyewash. State associations affiliated to AICF haven’t removed the condition. Moreover, the condition exists in the brochures for upcoming tournaments,” Duggal said.
He also expressed that his FIDE Elo rating hasn’t been restored yet. Moreover, Duggal said he feared that the AICF may bring in additional clauses preventing players from featuring in other tournaments.
“No Point in the Exercise”
Gurpreet Pal Singh, on the other hand, also reflected on Duggal’s views. “Basically the AICF has removed the undertaking from the registration form but it is implementing it through state associations. What’s the point of this exercise,” the former national junior champion said.
“I do not think AICF has implemented it fully. I’ll be filing a reply before the CCI,” Singh said.
“The Honourable Commission knows it better. It has to decide,” he added.
The AICF’s decision to remove the undertaking was unveiled when a player from Delhi, who the chess body had banned in 2010, tried to re-register.
The CCI, on July 12, 2018, had held that the undertaking directed by the AICF for players regarding the non-participation in unauthorised events by it amounted to restraints that were of exclusive distribution in the nature and refusal to deal as prescribed in Section 3(f) and 3(4)(d) of the Competition Act 2002.
The CCI had also said that the non-compliance of such undertaking would result in banning of players besides the removal of their Elo rating, the creation of entry barriers, foreclosing competition and restriction of opportunities available to chess players.
The CCI also imposed a penalty amounting to Rs 6,92,350 on the AICF on ground of infringement on the provisions of Section 4 of the Act. It also directed the chess body to deposit the penalty by 60 days along with filing a compliance report.