FIDE President and Bessel Kok Form Global Chess Company
Tuesday, 26 December 2006 00:00
(Translated from Kommersant) A very important meeting for the future of chess was held recently in Prague, Czech Republic. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his opponent in the FIDE Presidential elections of 2nd June 2006, Mr. Bessel Kok, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and announced the establishment of the Global Chess Company with an initial capitalization of 4.5 million Euro. The company that is headed by Kok as Chairman will perform marketing policy in chess and attract investment into this sport.
(Translated from daily newspaper Kommersant) A very important meeting for the future of chess was held recently in Prague, Czech Republic. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his opponent in the FIDE Presidential elections of 2nd June 2006, Mr. Bessel Kok, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and announced the establishment of the Global Chess Company with an initial capitalization of 4.5 million Euro. The company that is headed by Kok as Chairman will perform marketing policy in chess and attract investment into this sport.
The original Russian version can be found at the following link http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.html?DocID=732986&IssueId=30286)
Experience since the 90`s has shown a real need for marketing. According to the agreements signed in Prague, from now on the marketing policy will be performed by Global Chess. The organization, whose headquartered will be located in Amsterdam, will operate on the license with FIDE. Its initial capital is 4.5 million Euro and it will be increased to 10 million Euro in the nearest future. The management board consists of the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, his Adviser Alexei Orlov and the famous Dutch top manager Bessel Kok who in different years took the leading positions in corporations like Czesky Telecom, Eurotel, Morgan Stanley, Cerberus Capital Management Group and was co-founder together with the 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov of the quite efficient in 80`s Grandmasters Association. Mr. Kok was elected as the Chairman of the Board.
The signing of the Memorandum and establishment of the Global Chess can be considered as even in some way a more important step in chess unification process than the World Championship Match between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik for the title of the Absolute World Champion that was held in Elista this autumn. The issue is that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Bessel Kok were opponents in the FIDE Presidential elections in June this year. Mr. Kok who still has great authority in the chess world passed sharp criticism on his opponent specifically because of the absence of an efficient marketing and commercial policy and pointed out that “the Federation has not developed as a modern sport organization during many years”.
The Turin elections were won by a wide margin – 96 against 57 votes – in favor of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. If Mr. Ilyumzhinov was voted by the representatives of the national federations from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe namely those that were affected by the crisis of 90`s most of all, however, the list of Bessel Kok looked more impressive in sense of quality and financial possibilities including almost all Western Europe and USA.
The FIDE Vice President and one of those who suggested establishing Global Chess, Geoffrey Borg, in his comments on the Prague agreement to Kommersant said that nevertheless the heated debates in May in reality `both parties never forget their stated strategic idea to improve chess and their promise to keep working for good of the game independent of the elections result.` Another source in FIDE informed Kommersant that `Kirsan Ilyumzhinov once again showed his talent for diplomacy` having managed to attract his main opponent towards cooperation. `The FIDE President clearly understood that in such a way for the first time he attracts serious western management to work in the federation` – added the source.
Geoffrey Borg commented that the main task of the Global Chess will be to `search for world sponsors who would like their brand to be associated with our sport.` According to Mr. Borg in order to complete such search successfully the organization will employ marketing professionals, in Mr. Kok’s opinion FIDE badly lacked them. Mr. Borg added that in three to four years Global Chess plans to become a self-supporting company and market its investment activities as wide as possible, not only for top level tournaments but also for example for development of the chess academy system.
Geoffrey Borg underlined that anyway FIDE will stay the only organization that defines the most important direction of chess policy, e.g. the World Chess Championship Cycle system and the new established structure will only provide "their sponsor needs". However, it is absolutely obvious that on condition that all points of the Prague agreement will be fulfilled the Global Chess will become an organization almost as significant as the Federation itself and its leader will become definitely the second person in chess.
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