Riyadh – Saudi Arabia has denied visas of the Israeli players who were expected to participate in the upcoming International Chess Tournament, which takes every December in Riyadh, despite Fédération lnternationale des Échecs (FIDE) persuaded Saudi Sports Authorities.
According to FIDE, Israeli players contacted the sport’s governing body, pointing out that when, the same tournament was held last December in the Saudi capital, they were denied visas to enter the country to compete.
Due to Kingdom’s strict stance against Israel, FIDE has given up persuading and decided to cancel this month’s World Blitz and Rapid [Chess] Championship in Riyadh.
The lawyers advocating Israeli players wrote to FIDE in October that Saudi Arabia’s denial of visas for Israeli nationals last year means that FIDE was in breach of its own policies and statutes.
The Lawfare Project, an organization that advocates the rights of Israeli players has been pleading FIDE to persuade Saudi Authorities.
Brooke Goldstein, the executive director of The Lawfare Project, said: “It is hard to believe that in 2018, a country could be allowed to host an international event but Israel is not allowed to participate, but I welcome FIDE’s decision to cancel this year’s event.”
Since Saudi Arabia strictly does not recognize Israel and does not permit Israeli nationals to enter the country, it was ready to bear the cost of losing the honor of hosting the tournament.
However, Saudi Arabia is open to recognize Israel, if Israel signs the Two-State Solution proposed by the late King of Saudi Arabia – King Abdullah – in 2002, which ensures East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine and ends Israel’s illegal occupation.