Vladimir Sakotic: "That's a Dirty Pre-Election War, I Won't Participate in That"

Время публикации: 02.03.2014 15:00 | Последнее обновление: 02.03.2014 15:07

Е.SUROV: Vladimir Sakotic is on the air of Chess-News radio. Hello Vladimir!

V.SAKOTIC: Hello to you and the followers of your website.

Е.SUROV: How should I introduce you to those who listen/read us? You are an executive director of European Chess Union and then the president of Montenegro Chess Federation (MCF), are you?

V.SAKOTIC: It's better to introduce me as the international arbiter and organiser. At the moment I am an executive director of ECU, but I am not the president of the Montenegro Chess Federation for already 2-3 days. 

Е.SUROV: What happened? Since when have you been the president?  

V.SAKOTIC: I was elected the president on February 9, 2013. The previous president ruled for only six months leaving the federation with a huge debt of EUR 28 500. So, no one really wanted to take over the federation consider the financial problems. Back then the Montenegro players weren't in FIDE rating list. 

I live in Belgrade for over 30 years, I am a citizen of Montenegro. I am a member of Montenegro Chess Federation and I just always wanted to help my federation. So, when we faced the abovementioned situation I just wished to become the president to help and improve chess situation in the country. I tried to do that, but the problems started to emerge from July-August 2013. So, when I saw that the problems double instead of collapsing, I decided to resign - that happened several days ago. Now I just don't have enough strength to continue running the federation as the president - the federation where some support me and others don't. 

Е.SUROV: What kind of problems do you mean?

V.SAKOTIC: That's a hard question. First of all the problems were connected to the men's national team, right from the moment I proposed the vice-president of the federation, my deputy Lazar Akovic as the captain of the team. They protested asking why did I suggested exactly his candidature. Then the problems began. I think the Budva question is just blackmailing, the plan is to make me obey and choose as a selector in the team the person they want. That was a start, but after that practically 90% of other enquiries regarded to the European Youth Championship which took place in Budva.

Е.SUROV: Could you clarify who is the "selector"? I mean is it just one person or a group of people who staff the team? 

V.SAKOTIC: That is just one person who did that successfully at the European championship held in Warsaw. However, when I proposed his candidature, several players and teams declared they don't want to see him [Lazar Akovic] as a selector.

Those were people who are now attacking me. That is GM Jukic and the person who organised this wave against me - Mr. Draskovic. His son Luka Draskovic - one of the most talented players of Montenegro. They had an idea of putting another person. Dragan Popadic, who previously was the selector, was also unhappy with my decision. He was unhappy because he thinks he had to continue being the selector, although he declined the position after the Istanbul Olympiad. If you ask them, they might say they all are men of principle, but I am not sure of that at all.

Our federation is small, we have 34 clubs, the population of Montenegro is 600 thousand people. So, the selector in the team is just one person. We don't have a strong coach, grandmaster who would be training with the players. Our selector was Dragan Popadic for the last five years, he is a journalist at the same time. Now the selector is the person who earlier was an arbiter and now is a lawyer. For us the selector is practically the captain of the team. 

* * *

Regarding the Budva situation. Let us remind you top Montenegro chess clubs and players issued an open letter stating that:

“The purpose of this letter is an attempt to inform the public about a reasonable suspicion that the Championships are misused to provide financial benefit for NGO “Potez” from Niksic and NGO “Centar za razvoj šaha” from Belgrade, both being front for the incumbent Montenegro Chess Federation President Vladimir Sakotic.”

V.SAKOTIC: When they wrote the letter I immediately called for the General Assembly Meeting of the MCF. There were four questions on the agenda including the financial report of the Supervisory Board. When the report was presented - overall there were 28 delegates - seven of them were against me. So, when they saw that the voting didn't work, they just left the meeting. 21 delegates stayed, 18 of them supported me, 3 abstained, no one voted against. I just became the president and I I thought that was going to stop soon. It didn't stop, it continued. That's really interesting! That was an international craze that lasts by now. A day before the meeting the delegates of the federation were addressed by two FIDE vice-presidents. First was Ali Nihat Yazici who published a long letter on his Facebook page explaining why Vladimir Sakotic shouldn't be the president of Montenegro Chess Federation. The other one was written by Boris Kutin published in Goran Tomic's Chess Chronicles. He also accused me of some financial matters of 2010 and also noted to delegates that Vladimir Sakotic shouldn't be the president of MCF. This was a direct violation of FIDE regulations which state that FIDE is not allowed to intervene the work of national federations. That was an outrageous violation but no one reacted. I also didn't want to react as that is not my job; but the international view on the situation in Montenegro started to build up exactly at that point. I mean it is interesting when two FIDE vice-presidents attack you a day before the General Assembly. I didn't know that happens sometimes. 

They didn't stop after the Assembly. In the nearest future I will bring an action against three players and five chess clubs who wrote the letter mentioned, because their accusations were groundless. Let's see how court sees that.  

Е.SUROV: So, on the one hand you are attacked by the top Montenegro players and chess clubs and on the other side, you are also attacked by two FIDE vice-presidents. Do you think they are connected to each other? 

V.SAKOTIC: In my view they are definitely connected. That is also connected to the last article of Chessdom the day after the one published on Chess Chronicles. I am sure all that is connected. Why did Chessdom publish that? If you didn't know, they have a contract with the European Chess Union of 2007. Their work within the contract requirements were not satisfactory, so we made a pause of half a year in the contract when came to ECU. After that we don't allow them running live broadcasting of the games without a contract and money for ECU. They, however, always refused to pay. They use every possibility to attack me. 

It's not a secret that Chessdom people are close to FIDE. I don't know about Ilyumzhinov, but Chessdom is connected to people who are tied to FIDE. This is an international question, harshly put up in order to create problems for the president Danailov and co. This is a dirty war which has already begun due to the FIDE and ECU presidential elections campaign.  

I am with Danailov since 2009. I don't know if you remember that pre-election chess, but it's just the repetition of what already happened to me then. Back then I also got the vote of no-confidence as of the member of ECU Board. They also wanted to force me to leave ECU at the Assembly in Novi Sad. It's just that I am attacked by the same people when the elections are close.  

Е.SUROV: Do you mean those are FIDE people?

V.SAKOTIC: Not only FIDE people but others too. I can't name them as I don't have concrete evidence. I can talk only of the things that I can prove. There's a reason why I don't like this dirty war - I mean we all have families. It's not any pleasant when the members of your family read all that. Don't doubt that I can write ten times more about them, but I won't ever do that. I can assure you that I won't ever participate in this kind of a dirty war.

Thank you for inviting me and allowing to tell all the truth about all this. You have been very precise in your brief article. We had the Board meeting of the federation on February 20. At that meeting I was supported by Jusuf Kalamperovic who was the Minister of Justice for four years and the Minister of Police for eight years. I was also supported by Lazar Akovic who was one of the leading judges at the Constitutional Court and now one of the leading lawyers of Montenegro. I was supported by Ismit Senderovic who is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. All of them are experts - you can find all that on our website, translate with google translator - and they all said that the federation and I are legally absolutely clean. After all the federation earned from the championship EUR 51 457 and ECU will get over EUR 80 000. I think that's a great result.  

Е.SUROV: OK, but there were letters written by the parents of the participants of the championship. Those state the conditions weren't the best. How would you comment on that? 

V.SAKOTIC: That's an absolute falsification! There were 2 thousand people in Budva... I didn't want to react on those accusations. All members of the ECU Board, who were present in Warsaw, voted for the report introduced by Dejan Milosevic, the director of the championship. Everything is written in that report. The main championship was also played in that school. There were 16 toilets, 16 new toilets! There were two bad toilets, only two. That was just a falsification from two parents. 

Except two bad toilets there were sixteen new ones! They were repaired four months prior the championship , because there were thousands of people there. Three groups played at school, about 200 children in each - and that only in the main championship. 

Е.SUROV: Why did the parents write those letters then?

V.SAKOTIC: There were three parents - two from Lithuania and one from Romania. I wasn't the organizer of the event in Budva not for a single day and I haven't a single decision there. I was only the president of the MCF and nothing more. So, what they wrote isn't true. They wrote that Vladimir Sakotic did there everything apparently following some instructions. They were approached by the director of the competition...

E.SUROV: Who was the director of the tournament?

V.SAKOTIC: Dejan Milosevic was the director. He brought them the paper and said, "Guys, your children will participate in the championship if you'll live at the hotel. If you don't want or can't then they won't be able to play, that's the ECU regulations." He offered them a compromise - let only children to live at the hotel and only for a day, so that everything would be formally legal. There were four parents. Two have agreed immediately, other two said "we don't want doing so" and wrote that letter. The next day they went on an excursion and then we saw what their lawyer has written. Then they participated in the main competition! And everything was alright. This letter was written just for FIDE. FIDE said: "It's not our championship, address ECU." Nonetheless, someone from FIDE - I know who but I just don't want to say who - passed the letter to the Chess Chronicles, then Chessdom and so on making happy Yazici and others.

That's a dirty story and I just don't like replying to such things. 

Е.SUROV: So, you think that all that is just the pre-election fight?

V.SAKOTIC: Absolutely. I mean the international story I just told you about. As regards to our federation story - it's different. The reasons there are different and I don't want to go into details. It's not worth to wash dirty linen in public. The international story is connected only to elections. 

Е.SUROV: I see. Thanks a lot!


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