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 Post subject: EGF executives new decisions re. the war in Ukraine
Post #1 Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 12:57 am 
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EGF executive has announced new decisions regarding the war in Ukraine.

Martin Stiassny, the EGF president, said in an email to members:
Quote:
We all see many changes in the world, also in the sports world and parallel we are losing the hope of a quick end of the war in the Ukraine.

He also cited the recommendations of the IOC and IGF:
Quote:
There exist strong recommendations by the IOC and the IGF with the goal of isolating Russia and Belarus from the international sports-scene.


The email informs EGF members that the EGF executive has now decided to disallow the participation of Russian and Belarus players in EGF tournaments even under a neutral flag. The special General Meeting held in March had decided to allow participation of Russian and Belarussian players in EGF tournaments under a neutral flag. Citing the experience of the European Go Youth Congress in Prague and the situation regarding sanctions and other difficulties the email states that the executive considers it impossible to realize the decision to allow participation of Russian and Belarussian players because at each tournament there will be players that will refuse to play against Russian opponents and tournament organizers do not know how they are meant to address such situations and the executive doesn't think there is any good solution. Transferring prize money to winners from Russia and Belarus would also not be possible.

The email also informs that having a Russian member of the executive has caused difficulties with certain financial service companies.

EGF executive is asking member to ratify the following new decisions in an email vote. This is something that has become customary, to not wait until the Annual General Meeting(AGM) to ask EGF members to ratify decisions which the executive makes as a matter of urgency on behalf of the AGM.

The decisions are:

* No participation for Russian/Belarus' players in EGF related tournaments
* No Russian/Belarus' teams/pairs in EGF related team/pair tournaments
* No money-transfers to Russia/Belarus
* No invitations to Russian/Belarus' players for EGF events
* No nominations of Russian/Belarus' players whenever EGF has to nominate
its representative(s) for international competitions
* Natalia Kovaleva no longer member of the EGF executive-board

Affected events are:
* European single championships
* the European Go Congress
* Grand Prix (Bonus Points-) tournaments
* European Team Championships (PGETC, Youth-Teams, Student-teams, future European Team Championships)
* European Pair-Go championship
* European qualification-tournaments for European and/or international tournaments (for example the base for nominations by the EGF)
* any future EGF-supported tournaments.

Teaching activities (EGF academy,...) and most other EGF related activities (i.e. publications, twitch appearances,...?) are not affected.

The Special General Meeting, held in March, had already resolved the following (which remain in effect):

* All planned EGF event in Russia and Belarus are cancelled.
* At EGF related competition it is forbidden to play the anthems of Russia and Belarus, it is forbidden to display the national flags of Russian and Belarus and in general it is forbidden to display of the country’s names. The display nationalistic symbols (for instance the letter “Z”) is also forbidden.

Martin Stiassny ends his email reminding that these are not actions taken to harm Russian or Belarussian players but something done in the interest of safe-guarding our European Go community during this war and to make a clear restart possible after the war.

(I refrained from posting the whole email and just made this imperfect summary. I just don't see the need to circulate the original in this forum)

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Post #2 Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 12:19 pm 
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How do you handle Russians who left Russia, perhaps to escape political persecution? Or probably more commonly, a Russian who left Russia ages ago and is a member of a different federation.

Like many of the EGF's ideas, superficially it might seem reasonable, but in practice it seems open to wobbles.

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Post #3 Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 2:16 pm 
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Javaness2 wrote:
How do you handle Russians who left Russia, perhaps to escape political persecution? Or probably more commonly, a Russian who left Russia ages ago and is a member of a different federation.

Like many of the EGF's ideas, superficially it might seem reasonable, but in practice it seems open to wobbles.


I don't think there is any doubt it is meant that they are not allowed to compete in EGF events.

Do you mean by "wobble" that the EGF might not hold tightly to these policies? I think it is the opposite. This clarifies what is expected of event organizers by removing uncertainty regarding how to deal with the neutral flag requirement and what to do in the even that participants boycott games. Now there is experience from the EYGC and PEGTC, maybe these can be said to be examples that excluding the Russian participants allows EGF events to be held successfully while allowing participation (even under a neutral flags) is painful and difficult.

In a free world you are allowed to organize your own tournaments that are then not EGF events. The problem is that many people are very upset by the war in Ukraine and some EGF tournaments can't proceed as normal, it is practically impossible for the EGF transfer prize money or provide meaningful invitations to players in Russia, and there are guidelines from the rest of the sports community that is important to follow. The situation is also that Russia has already been excluded from two important EGF events, the alternatives were not realistic as they would create new and worse problems.

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Post #4 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 12:32 am 
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So how come almost all other sports bodies, like the tennis federation, can perfectly host players like Medvedev or Rublev, under neutral flag, no player is opposing playing them and transferring prize money, which is considerably bigger, is no problem either. Media exposure of tennis or other major sports is much larger than Go and neither the public nor the media doesn't seem to make a fuzz about it. I can't imagine fellow go players object playing a long time companion of theirs, who I think are rather unlikely to support their dictator in the first place. If there would be such a player who has difficulties playing someone of Russian origin, under neutral flag, they would be rightfully forfeited from the tournament.

The war needs to be stopped, the dictator needs to be evicted and economic, political or other measures are in place. Excluding Russian players from tournaments will have zero effect on Putin's decisions and a long lasting effect on the relationships in the small community the EGF is after all.

This is my conceptual, moral stance - of course EGF knows best and may have encountered difficulties of a whole other nature than the major sports bodies in the world.

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 Post subject: Re: EGF executives new decisions re. the war in Ukraine
Post #5 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 5:29 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
So how come almost all other sports bodies, like the tennis federation, can perfectly host players like Medvedev or Rublev, under neutral flag, [...]

There certainly are reports in the media that Wimbledon is demanding Russian players make public denunciations of the war and even rid their social media of references to Russia. I don't know if I should check if Wimbledon is governed by a tennis federation, I am inclined to assume it is not. There does seem to be a big fuzz about it, contrary to what you said.

The role and responsibilities of a sports federation are very different from that of essentially private corporations that hold single events. There is a long list of tournaments and sports federations banning or restricting participation of Russian players, the IOC called for them to be banned and they were not allowed to participate at the Paralympic games despite having arrived at the venue. Each case is different (i.e. the number of tournaments involved, the number of players, travel requirements,...). A private organizer can effectively do whatever they like. A sports federation has the responsibility to find equitable and workable solutions to problems.

Knotwilg wrote:
[...]I can't imagine fellow go players object playing a long time companion of theirs, who I think are rather unlikely to support their dictator in the first place. If there would be such a player who has difficulties playing someone of Russian origin, under neutral flag, they would be rightfully forfeited from the tournament.

I don't know why you would be surprised after the experience of the EYGC and PGETC. The purpose of holding EGF tournaments is lost when the event can't be held in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. Forfeited games are a big problem, especially when such forfeits are disallowed by regulations (top group at EGC) and they make the tournament unfair.

Knotwilg wrote:
This is my conceptual, moral stance - of course EGF knows best and may have encountered difficulties of a whole other nature than the major sports bodies in the world.

I think you have not summarized correctly what major sports federations have done. Anyway, this is a complicated topic.

The situation with EGF is that it organizes only a small number of tournaments, most of which are European Championships of some sort or qualification events, and two of these tournaments already excluded Russian players and already went ahead without them. The EGF also doesn't have the capacity to define and enforce rules about what playing under a "neutral flag" actually means and it is a meaningless requirement unless it is enforced strictly. The EGF is not strong on enforcing rules because the usual friendly atmosphere at EGF tournaments doesn't require this. I think it is important that the EGF enforces the measures taken against Russia, people are incensed about this war and I don't know how to explain it if the EGF fails here. It can also be difficult to lift these measures if they were not enforced, people may for example still think to take the actions that prompted the thing to begin with, at least I think it will be easier if they are followed strictly.

The EGF executive, in the presidents letter, is informing members of their decisions and views. To some extend it is their own view and based on their work in implementing the decisions of the special General Meeting. I do agree with them.

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Post #6 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 5:47 am 
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National teams are banned from most competitions, as are teams based in Russia or Belarus. Individuals are mostly allowed to continue competing, provided they don't operate under their nation's flag.

Formula 1: drivers can compete under neutral flag
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/ ... utral-flag
Tennis: idem
https://sport.news.am/eng/news/129934/a ... photo.html
Cycling: idem
https://www.uci.org/pressrelease/the-uc ... eMIc8rgb3t
In football, Russian players for foreign teams are also still allowed to be lined up, while clubs and national teams have been banned from international competition.

I don't see why Go could not do the same thing.

An exception may come from Table Tennis, which has its competitions organized more in a kind of Olympic spirit, where the nation matters more than the individual, which comes down to the dominating nation's approach to the sport, China.

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 Post subject: Re: EGF executives new decisions re. the war in Ukraine
Post #7 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:38 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
I don't see why Go could not do the same thing.

Wait a minute. What exactly would be the same thing? These organizations govern many very different competitions, while the EGF only organizes a few tournaments and its rules are mostly not in effect for other events.

This is about EGF events only. The EGF's role is much more limited than the organizations you mention. You would for example not see EGF officials checking equipment at a local club tournament but UCI officials are said to go as far as measuring cyclists socks.

Most (if not all) EGF tournaments are one of a team event, qualification event to select a European representative, European Championships or select participants based on their country. In any case players do represent their countries in such events.

Selecting a "neutral flag" representative for Europe can also have problems, other than being very silly, their association is suspended from EGF and therefore can't be involved and the organizers of the event the representative is selected for may object to having this "neutral flag" problem exported to them. As I said before, I don't think the EGF itself is capable to enforce a "neutral flag" policy.

The organizations you mention have a large staff, their governance is accepted for even the most insignificant local competitions, and that means they have tens of thousands of events of various types that all fall under their announced measures. The situation with Go is that Russian players are allowed in almost every tournament in Europe, the EGF is only concerning itself with the events that it organizes itself. EGF events are not that many, making a policy that works for the other 1000+ tournaments would prove difficult and is unnecessary. FIA, UCI and FIFA on the other hand do govern and rule over every tournament everywhere and can't make rules that are only meant to apply to their 10-20 favorite tournaments, this would at least be different from their usual modus operandi.

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 Post subject: Re: EGF executives new decisions re. the war in Ukraine
Post #8 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:39 am 
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I was not sure if there was a European Championship in motor sports, tennis and cycling. I checked and apparently cycling and table tennis are on the same boat and hold their European Championships together and have announced that Russian athletes can't compete. It says "nine participating Federations not to invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials at their events".

Exactly same as the EGF!

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Post #9 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 9:08 am 
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Well, it feels pretty extreme, but I suppose it makes sense if Russia is no longer a member of the EGF. Although, in the case of something like the EGC I think they have the right to play as outsiders, just as people from USA, Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea do. For regular club level tournaments it would probably be illegal to exclude anyone from Russia.

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Post #10 Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:29 pm 
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In each of the 27 years 1993 - 2019, I have attended the European Go Congress for two weeks. Without the pandemic and war, this year, 2022, would be my 30th year in succession.

I continue to contemplate whether to participate this year. Not having to boycott games against Russians or Belorussians, if they should indeed be prohibited from playing in EGF tournaments during the war, would remove one great obstacle.

WRT the other obstacle, the pandemic, my decision depends in particular on the development of numbers of Covid cases. Currently, I estimate the risk of infection during a congress travel ca. 500 times as high as at home, where I can be very cautious. However, numbers vary greatly; if they should be low in summer, I might decide to participate. Cancelling the EGCs 2020 and 2021 was responsible. For 2022, there are good reasons for or against holding a congress during the ongoing pandemic. Covid management during the congress can mitigate the overall situation but still every player needs to make his personal decision whether to accept the risk. I might be on the cautious side but health is more important than pursing a personal participation series and the sheer joy of congress participation (under normal, healthy conditions).


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Post #11 Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:02 am 
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kvasir wrote:
I was not sure if there was a European Championship in motor sports, tennis and cycling. I checked and apparently cycling and table tennis are on the same boat and hold their European Championships together and have announced that Russian athletes can't compete. It says "nine participating Federations not to invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials at their events".

Exactly same as the EGF!


Like I said, when the events are oriented towards national teams, then indeed they are excluded and that makes sense to me. Not only in cycling or table tennis, but also in football and tennis (Davis Cup). The point is about tournaments where people participate as individuals.

But apparently there are indeed players who would boycott an individual because of their origin, due to acts committed by a dictator who sends troops into war unknowingly. I'm very curious why these players have never thought about boycotting a UK player when bombardments on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in a war waged under totally false conditions (Iraq was not involved in 9/11, nor did they have WoMD).

I totally sympathize with Ukraine in this awful war and would love to see Putin removed from office, either by democratic vote (which won't happen) or force. But I also sympathize with Russian citizens, sportsmen or not, who are just trying to live their life under such dictatorship and can't really help having been born in the wrong country. A bit of love, peace and understanding would do good to EGF and its boycotting players.


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Post #12 Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:07 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Currently, I estimate the risk of infection during a congress travel ca. 500 times as high as at home, where I can be very cautious. However, numbers vary greatly; if they should be low in summer, I might decide to participate. Cancelling the EGCs 2020 and 2021 was responsibl


I went to a party last week where a fair number of people contracted Covid. It was still not an irresponsible thing to do, because those infected are having a slightly harder time than a having a cold. The pandemic is effectively over today. The current virus' variant is very contagious but almost harmless. I think 90 percent of my environment has contracted it by now, despite triple vaccination, including my parents who are way over 70. I never tested positive but I probably had it already too.

I wouldn't worry about going to the congress.


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Post #13 Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 2:00 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
I went to a party last week where a fair number of people contracted Covid. It was still not an irresponsible thing to do, because those infected are having a slightly harder time than a having a cold. The pandemic is effectively over today. The current virus' variant is very contagious but almost harmless. I think 90 percent of my environment has contracted it by now, despite triple vaccination, including my parents who are way over 70. I never tested positive but I probably had it already too.

I wouldn't worry about going to the congress.


This is a very dangerous take. The point is not that it is »relatively mild« (which just means that you usually don't need to be hospitalized). The point is that a small but significant part of the population is severely affected with a chronic and disabling desease, and another part is going to ICU and of those, many die. And this is with vaccination.

The ratio and severity of this is comparable to Polio and Tuberculosis. The only difference is that COVID, especially in the current variants, is incredibly contagious, and partially evades current vaccinations, so that adequate responses are hard and every failure a major setback. It's easy to surrender, but it means that people will die.

I would worry very much. At least wear a good mask, keep distance, avoid enclosed spaces with many people.

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 Post subject: Re: EGF executives new decisions re. the war in Ukraine
Post #14 Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 5:29 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Like I said, when the events are oriented towards national teams, then indeed they are excluded and that makes sense to me. Not only in cycling or table tennis, but also in football and tennis (Davis Cup). The point is about tournaments where people participate as individuals.

The European Championships in Munich 2022 are not oriented toward teams.

Knotwilg wrote:
But apparently there are indeed players who would boycott an individual because of their origin, due to acts committed by a dictator who sends troops into war unknowingly. I'm very curious why these players have never thought about boycotting a UK player when bombardments on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in a war waged under totally false conditions (Iraq was not involved in 9/11, nor did they have WoMD).

It is their choice, just as it is your own to make accusations of hypocrisy. Where does your remit to pass such judgment over other people end? It is hard to understand why you are complaining that someone didn't do a thing 19 years ago that you think they shouldn't have done anyway.

Knotwilg wrote:
I totally sympathize with Ukraine in this awful war and would love to see Putin removed from office, either by democratic vote (which won't happen) or force. But I also sympathize with Russian citizens, sportsmen or not, who are just trying to live their life under such dictatorship and can't really help having been born in the wrong country. A bit of love, peace and understanding would do good to EGF and its boycotting players.

Some people support Ukraine unconditionally in face of what is a genocidal war and don't think people who are asking for a "bit of love, peace and understanding" are in their right minds. I suppose arguments of this nature are prone to misunderstandings and have little to do with this EGF business.

As for boycotting games. It is simply up to each individual if they play a game or not. Did you read the call from the IOC? It doesn't say anywhere that players should do this. It is a recommendation and a call for sports federations on how to solve the problem, it is about international competition in sports. I think you have turned this question on its head because I think the EGF is trying to solve the problem with tact and understanding. Calling out perceived moral hypocrisies in people who are upset about a genocidal war is not understanding. The same goes for punishing players who object to playing with Russians in international competitions because of the situation. In the end it is a situation in which the EGF needed to take action to protect the integrity of competition and guarantee a friendly and peaceful atmosphere at its tournaments.

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Post #15 Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2022 1:16 am 
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Hi dear Go players
I pray that this awful and needless war ends sooner.
As a member of RGF I hope that our federations will maintain good relationships regardless of any decision.
If excluding the Russian players can't be avoided, maybe it could be mitigated somehow?
You say, there are not so many tournaments organized by EGF. Maybe it would be possible to compile a list of
the most critical tournaments where the Russians are banned and where their participation can cause many troubles. Even if this list would include 99.9% of EGF tournaments, it would look a little bit less painful (it's my individual perception and opinion though).
To me it looks like much less troublesome situation if a kyu player not claiming for any titles would refuse to play with a Russian during EGC main event. Than if it happens for example with players claiming for European Championships.
Anyway I wouldn't expect that many Russians would come to offline tournaments in Europe this year at least. Cause flight costs rose sharply, not to mention an array of other problems.

Kind regards,
Veronika

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Post #16 Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2022 10:51 am 
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As expected, the European Go Congress organisers, https://egc2022.ro/newsletter3/ , and the EGF president advertise for the congress and mention that many players are still sceptical. However, I think that the information is very insufficient.

As to Russians possibly being prohibited from playing in the congress tournaments, I still await a publication of the decision.

As to Covid, they write: "In Romania everything seems to be back to normal, no more restrictions, no one wearing mask anymore." This information is absolutely insufficient! I want to know and see regular updates on
- Corona numbers in Romania and Vatra Dornei in particular,
- Corona rules in transport to Romania, in Romania, in Vatra Dornei and at the venue,
- Corona concept at the congress venue,
- consequences of having Corona in Romania and in particular for congress participants, more specifically when sharing rooms,
- medical treatment in Romania and Vatra Dornei in particular in cases of severe Corona illness,
- current Corona types in Romania.

No one wearing mask anymore is no indication whatsoever what the Corona numbers are. E.g., mask requirements have been taken back to some extent in Germany but case numbers are very high.

Sorry, but this is not a game of naive belief. I want facts and responsible management!

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Post #17 Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2022 2:50 pm 
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I think answers to some of these Covid questions can be found at https://reopen.europa.eu/en

For urgent medical care and hospitals you would presumably want to make sure you have your "European Health Insurance Card" (EHIC) and a travel insurance. You might want to read the EHIC information, there is a bit on Romania, but it is not a travel insurance. It is just something generic but in principle EU/EEA and Swiss residents have the same access to the local healthcare system as the local residents, same thing applies to UK and EU, the link has actual details of what this means in Romania, under the "how to use the card" section.

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Post #18 Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:22 am 
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Having contacted the congress organisers, I have got their information on 2022-06-13.

They say that now it is EGF policy that

- Russian / Belarussian players are not allowed to play in official EGF tournaments including all Congress events,
- Russian / Belarussian players living in other European countries or being refugees may be allowed to play if signing a statement opposing the war.


I like this current EGF policy very much! I just wish it would be easily available at the EGF webpage and told to the EGF members.

The congress organisers say this about Covid:

Since currently the Romanian government is said to have no restriction whatsoever as to Covid, the congress organisers consider the situation normal so currently there are no Covid policies / restrictions for the congress.

In my opinion, nevertheless each potential participant needs to make his own decision whether to bear the Covid risk of the travel and participation.

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Post #19 Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:37 am 
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Here is some advice I got from a doctor for those daring to attend a congress: voluntarily wearing an FFP2 mask decreases one's own (and everybody's) probability of infection as does respecting others by maintaining distance. Probably I do not dare to attend but I wish every participant low risk and good health.

Concerning a possible 4th vaccination of persons without mandatory criteria and exit strategies back towards normal life, the doctor had a clear Jein (that is, unclear choice between Yes or No) and said that everybody needs to make his own personal decisions because scientists do not have definitive, general answers yet.

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Post #20 Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:39 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
I'm very curious why these players have never thought about boycotting a UK player when bombardments on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in a war waged under totally false conditions (Iraq was not involved in 9/11, nor did they have WoMD).
If UK attacks Ireland in order to take their territories and to set up a dictatorship there, I believe western sanctions against UK will be harder than contemporary sanctions against Russia.

off-topic:
Bombardments on Iraq didn't kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. And most casualties during the western occupation weren't associated with NATO involvement, but were inflicted in battles between local militias.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualtie ... casualties

Knotwilg wrote:
But I also sympathize with Russian citizens, sportsmen or not, who are just trying to live their life under such dictatorship and can't really help having been born in the wrong country. A bit of love, peace and understanding would do good to EGF and its boycotting players.
This is a war. In the world, there is so much of more serious "injustice" inflicted on people for having been born in the wrong country.

Nobody kills Russian go players, nobody kills their relatives, nobody destroys their homes. They only cannot participate in some tournaments in Europe. They can play online and participate in other tournaments. Please don't make a drama from it.

There are good reasons why EGF raised the boycott. It might save some lifes by helping Russian people to understand something serious happens and by causing an earlier withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
Any saved life is worth the discomfort imposed on Russian players.
I believe any reasonable Russian go player understands it.

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