Russia criticises US for not issuing visa to FIDE chief
Moscow, Nov 10 (IANS) America's refusal to issue a visa to world chess federation's (FIDE) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov contradicts a universal principle that "sport is above politics", Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
The Russian's attendance at the World Chess Championship became doubtful after he was added to a sanctions list by the US Department of Treasury last November, reports Tass.
He had been "materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria, Central Bank of Syria", the US had claimed.
Ilyumzhinov earlier expressed confidence that he will be allowed to enter the US for the event.
Ilyumzhinov claimed to be prepared to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, having denied the charge and stating his only contact with Syria was in his role as head of FIDE.
The FIDE president also said he has all the documents necessary to travel.
"Suffice it to say that the substantiation is grotesque and does not stand any criticism. But for the incumbent US authorities, who have been carried away with imposing sanctions on Russia and its citizens, any pretext is good," Zakharova said.
Zakharova noted that she could only regret that by this move "a heavy damage had been inflicted on the Russian-US relations, the White House is again refusing to observe a universal principle that 'sport is above politics'".
"As a result, the FIDE president will be unable to be present at the world chess championship match in New York, which he himself has organised, for the first time in 92 years. It is not doing credit to the outgoing US administration," Zakharova added.