Russia's exit from top European sports body approved

Russia will become part of the Asian Chess Federation if accepted, the international body has ruled

Russia is free to leave the European Chess Union (ECU) and join its Asian counterpart, should the move be approved by the latter organization, it was announced by international governing body FIDE on Wednesday. The decision followed a request by the Chess Federation of Russia (CFR).

The Asian Chess Federation (ACF) is now expected to decide on Russia’s request at its General Assembly, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on February 28. A Russian delegation at the gathering will be led by the head of the CFR, Andrey Filatov, national media reported.

If the ACF does accept Russia, FIDE explained that the country would automatically withdraw from the ECU, adding that a chess federation cannot be part of two continental bodies at the same time. FIDE also decided that Russia will be redesignated as part of the Asian region starting from May 1, in the event that it is approved for membership by the ACF.

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Ian Nepomniachtchi during the FIDE Chess World Rapid & Blitz 2021 in Warsaw, Poland, on December 28, 2021
Location revealed for Russian star’s world chess title bid

FIDE determined that Russian chess players who wish to join other federations in light of the potential changes can do so immediately upon request and without incurring any fees. Players can later return to the CFR under the same conditions, it added.

Back in March 2022, FIDE allowed chess players from Russia and Belarus to continue to participate at international tournaments, but only under neutral status.

The ACF currently features 54 national federations, including prominent chess powers such as China, India, and Uzbekistan.

FIDE’s decision comes ahead of a world title contest between Russian grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi and Chinese rival Ding Liren. Nepomniachtchi ranks third in the world, while his opponent lies second. They will face off in a series of games in Astana from April 7 to May 1.

A new world champion will be crowned following the withdrawal of reigning five-time champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who announced last year that he would not be defending his title in 2023.

Russia's exit from top European sports body approved

Russia will become part of the Asian Chess Federation if accepted, the international body has ruled

Russia is free to leave the European Chess Union (ECU) and join its Asian counterpart, should the move be approved by the latter organization, it was announced by international governing body FIDE on Wednesday. The decision followed a request by the Chess Federation of Russia (CFR).

The Asian Chess Federation (ACF) is now expected to decide on Russia’s request at its General Assembly, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on February 28. A Russian delegation at the gathering will be led by the head of the CFR, Andrey Filatov, national media reported.

If the ACF does accept Russia, FIDE explained that the country would automatically withdraw from the ECU, adding that a chess federation cannot be part of two continental bodies at the same time. FIDE also decided that Russia will be redesignated as part of the Asian region starting from May 1, in the event that it is approved for membership by the ACF.

Read more

Ian Nepomniachtchi during the FIDE Chess World Rapid & Blitz 2021 in Warsaw, Poland, on December 28, 2021
Location revealed for Russian star’s world chess title bid

FIDE determined that Russian chess players who wish to join other federations in light of the potential changes can do so immediately upon request and without incurring any fees. Players can later return to the CFR under the same conditions, it added.

Back in March 2022, FIDE allowed chess players from Russia and Belarus to continue to participate at international tournaments, but only under neutral status.

The ACF currently features 54 national federations, including prominent chess powers such as China, India, and Uzbekistan.

FIDE’s decision comes ahead of a world title contest between Russian grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi and Chinese rival Ding Liren. Nepomniachtchi ranks third in the world, while his opponent lies second. They will face off in a series of games in Astana from April 7 to May 1.

A new world champion will be crowned following the withdrawal of reigning five-time champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who announced last year that he would not be defending his title in 2023.

Ex-Chelsea footballer found dead in Türkiye

Christian Atsu had been missing since the earthquakes on February 6

The remains of ex-Newcastle and Chelsea footballer Christian Atsu have been identified in the rubble of a block of high-rise apartments in the Turkish province of Hatay, according to his agent. Atsu had been missing since massive earthquakes rocked Türkiye and Syria on February 6, killing more than 40,000 people.

Atsu, 31, who joined Premier League giants Chelsea in 2013 during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club, was confirmed as deceased by his agent on Saturday.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well-wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning,” Nana Sechere tweeted.

My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.

The footballer was initially understood to have been rescued a day after the earthquakes, but those reports turned out to be false. His body was found on Saturday at Ronesans Residence, a 249-apartment block in the city of Antakya in southern Türkiye. The building had supposedly been “earthquake-proof.”

The developer of the residential complex, Mehmet Yasar Coskun, was arrested at Istanbul Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Montenegro last Friday, according to the Anadolu news agency.

“There are no words to describe our sadness,” tweeted Turkish club Hatayspor, which Atsu joined last September. “We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person.”

Newcastle United, a club for which Atsu played 121 times, wrote on social media that it was “profoundly saddened” by the news of his death, while Chelsea said it was “devastated.” 

Atsu, who played 65 times for Ghana and was named the player of the tournament at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, scored his first goal for Hatayspor in a Super Lig match on the eve of the earthquakes on February 5.

Ex-Chelsea footballer found dead in Türkiye

Christian Atsu had been missing since the earthquakes on February 6

The remains of ex-Newcastle and Chelsea footballer Christian Atsu have been identified in the rubble of a block of high-rise apartments in the Turkish province of Hatay, according to his agent. Atsu had been missing since massive earthquakes rocked Türkiye and Syria on February 6, killing more than 40,000 people.

Atsu, 31, who joined Premier League giants Chelsea in 2013 during Roman Abramovich’s ownership of the club, was confirmed as deceased by his agent on Saturday.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well-wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning,” Nana Sechere tweeted.

My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.

The footballer was initially understood to have been rescued a day after the earthquakes, but those reports turned out to be false. His body was found on Saturday at Ronesans Residence, a 249-apartment block in the city of Antakya in southern Türkiye. The building had supposedly been “earthquake-proof.”

The developer of the residential complex, Mehmet Yasar Coskun, was arrested at Istanbul Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Montenegro last Friday, according to the Anadolu news agency.

“There are no words to describe our sadness,” tweeted Turkish club Hatayspor, which Atsu joined last September. “We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person.”

Newcastle United, a club for which Atsu played 121 times, wrote on social media that it was “profoundly saddened” by the news of his death, while Chelsea said it was “devastated.” 

Atsu, who played 65 times for Ghana and was named the player of the tournament at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, scored his first goal for Hatayspor in a Super Lig match on the eve of the earthquakes on February 5.

Moscow-based MMA legend gives up US citizenship – media

Jeff Monson became a Russian citizen in 2018 and was elected to political office in Moscow Region

American-born mixed martial arts star Jeff Monson plans to renounce his US citizenship due to his disagreement with Washington’s foreign policy, he told TASS on Thursday.  

I disagree with US policies because they interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and people suffer because of this,” said the legendary fighter, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2018.  

Yes, I have children living in the United States, but I love Russia, I love the Russian people,” he told the state news outlet, adding, “I like everything here and I want to be the holder of a Russian passport only.” 

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Monson has defended Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Donbass. © Kirill Kallinikov
Ex-UFC star discusses plans for Donbass film (VIDEO)

Only months after becoming a Russian citizen, Monson was elected as a deputy to the Council of Deputies of the Krasnogorsk district in Moscow Region. He remains a legislator for the region. 

Nicknamed ‘the Snowman’, Monson has won 61 of his 90 fights. He is a former challenger for the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title and a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship winner. In addition to MMA, he is also a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion.  

An enthusiast of Russian and Soviet culture who has said he has a “Russian soul,” Monson was granted honorary citizenship of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia in 2016 and received a passport in 2017 to what was then the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic. He recently filmed and edited a documentary about “the people of Donbass” and in September revealed he planned to open sports schools in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Moscow-based MMA legend gives up US citizenship – media

Jeff Monson became a Russian citizen in 2018 and was elected to political office in Moscow Region

American-born mixed martial arts star Jeff Monson plans to renounce his US citizenship due to his disagreement with Washington’s foreign policy, he told TASS on Thursday.  

I disagree with US policies because they interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and people suffer because of this,” said the legendary fighter, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2018.  

Yes, I have children living in the United States, but I love Russia, I love the Russian people,” he told the state news outlet, adding, “I like everything here and I want to be the holder of a Russian passport only.” 

Read more

Monson has defended Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Donbass. © Kirill Kallinikov
Ex-UFC star discusses plans for Donbass film (VIDEO)

Only months after becoming a Russian citizen, Monson was elected as a deputy to the Council of Deputies of the Krasnogorsk district in Moscow Region. He remains a legislator for the region. 

Nicknamed ‘the Snowman’, Monson has won 61 of his 90 fights. He is a former challenger for the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title and a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship winner. In addition to MMA, he is also a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion.  

An enthusiast of Russian and Soviet culture who has said he has a “Russian soul,” Monson was granted honorary citizenship of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia in 2016 and received a passport in 2017 to what was then the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic. He recently filmed and edited a documentary about “the people of Donbass” and in September revealed he planned to open sports schools in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Olympics chief responds to Ukraine’s boycott calls

Kiev’s demands go against the “principles we stand for,” Thomas Bach says

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has criticized Ukraine’s calls to boycott the Paris 2024 Games if Russian athletes are allowed to take part. The role of the Olympics is to unify, not escalate and contribute to confrontation, he said.

“It’s not up to governments to decide who can take part in which sports competitions because this would be the end of international sport competitions… as we know it,” Bach told journalists on Sunday.

In late January, the IOC said it may allow athletes from Russia and Belarus who do not publicly support Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics under a neutral flag.

The announcement angered Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who called on countries to boycott the Games if this happens. Speaking on Friday, Zelensky said the presence of Russian athletes would be a “manifestation of violence” that “cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag.”

In comments cited by France 24, Bach stated that “history will show who is doing more for peace, the ones who try to keep lines open and communicate or the ones who want to isolate and divide.”

Our role is bringing people together.

Ukraine’s calls for a boycott of the Summer Olympics go against the “principles we stand for,” he said.

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FILE PHOTO. Thomas Bach speaks during the John Coates Celebration Dinner at Sofitel Hotel in Sydney, Australia.
IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Bach added that these calls are premature, saying: “we are talking about the sporting competitions to take place this year. There is no talk about Paris yet, this will come much later.” 

In deciding the fate of Russian and Belarusian athletes, the IOC must address the “serious concerns” of the UN Human Rights Council that banning them “only because of their passports is a violation of their rights,” he explained.

“We have seen a Belarusian player under neutral status winning the Australian Open. So why shouldn’t it be possible in a swimming pool for instance, or in gymnastics?” the IOC chief said. He was referring to the success of tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne last month.

Bach added, however, that Ukrainian athletes should “know how much we share their grief, their human suffering and all the effort we’re taking to help them” as a result of the conflict.

Olympics chief responds to Ukraine’s boycott calls

Kiev’s demands go against the “principles we stand for,” Thomas Bach says

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has criticized Ukraine’s calls to boycott the Paris 2024 Games if Russian athletes are allowed to take part. The role of the Olympics is to unify, not escalate and contribute to confrontation, he said.

“It’s not up to governments to decide who can take part in which sports competitions because this would be the end of international sport competitions… as we know it,” Bach told journalists on Sunday.

In late January, the IOC said it may allow athletes from Russia and Belarus who do not publicly support Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics under a neutral flag.

The announcement angered Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who called on countries to boycott the Games if this happens. Speaking on Friday, Zelensky said the presence of Russian athletes would be a “manifestation of violence” that “cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag.”

In comments cited by France 24, Bach stated that “history will show who is doing more for peace, the ones who try to keep lines open and communicate or the ones who want to isolate and divide.”

Our role is bringing people together.

Ukraine’s calls for a boycott of the Summer Olympics go against the “principles we stand for,” he said.

Read more

FILE PHOTO. Thomas Bach speaks during the John Coates Celebration Dinner at Sofitel Hotel in Sydney, Australia.
IOC president blasts Ukraine – media

Bach added that these calls are premature, saying: “we are talking about the sporting competitions to take place this year. There is no talk about Paris yet, this will come much later.” 

In deciding the fate of Russian and Belarusian athletes, the IOC must address the “serious concerns” of the UN Human Rights Council that banning them “only because of their passports is a violation of their rights,” he explained.

“We have seen a Belarusian player under neutral status winning the Australian Open. So why shouldn’t it be possible in a swimming pool for instance, or in gymnastics?” the IOC chief said. He was referring to the success of tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in Melbourne last month.

Bach added, however, that Ukrainian athletes should “know how much we share their grief, their human suffering and all the effort we’re taking to help them” as a result of the conflict.

Russian star dethrones UFC pound-for-pound king

Islam Makhachev retained his world title in a hard-fought battle in Australia

Russian champion Islam Makhachev defended his UFC lightweight title early on Sunday in an intense, five-round battle against hometown favorite Alex Volkanovski in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 headliner.

Makhachev, the fearsome Dagestani grappler, entered the cage as the reigning 155lb champion, but faced a stern challenge from the Australian, who was moving up from the featherweight (145lb) division he has dominated in a bid to become the UFC’s latest two-division titleholder.

But after a back-and-forth contest which saw both men tested on their feet and on the ground, it was Makhachev’s persistent aggression and suffocating grappling which proved enough to earn a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.

Thank you Alex. It was a very good fight,” said Makhachev after what will likely be considered by far the toughest bout of his recent career. “I need some tough fights. I have to improve. I [thought] he’s going to be easy on the ground but this guy improved a lot.

The victory will almost certainly see Makhachev succeed Volkanovski at the summit of the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings to determine the world’s best fighter across all weight classes when the latest list is issued on Monday. It was the first time in the UFC’s 30-year history that the fight league’s top two ranked pound-for-pound fighters fought in the Octagon.

I show why I’m number one,” Makhchev added in his post-fight interview. “They have to improve more. You like or you don’t like but I am the best fighter in the world right now.”

Volkanovski, who was fighting in front of a fiercely partisan crowd Down Under, added his congratulations to Makhachev afterwards.

Obviously a lot of people are going to be happy with that because they never gave me a chance,” said the Aussie, who had Makhachev in trouble on several occasions in the five-round fight. “I knew I prepared properly, it was a fun fight. Congrats to Islam.”

Makhachev, who has now won 12 straight fights, stands alone at the top of the UFC lightweight division. His victory ensures continued Dagestani dominance in the organization’s lightweight fold – just like the man he succeeded at the top of the division, his close friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Russian star dethrones UFC pound-for-pound king

Islam Makhachev retained his world title in a hard-fought battle in Australia

Russian champion Islam Makhachev defended his UFC lightweight title early on Sunday in an intense, five-round battle against hometown favorite Alex Volkanovski in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 headliner.

Makhachev, the fearsome Dagestani grappler, entered the cage as the reigning 155lb champion, but faced a stern challenge from the Australian, who was moving up from the featherweight (145lb) division he has dominated in a bid to become the UFC’s latest two-division titleholder.

But after a back-and-forth contest which saw both men tested on their feet and on the ground, it was Makhachev’s persistent aggression and suffocating grappling which proved enough to earn a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.

Thank you Alex. It was a very good fight,” said Makhachev after what will likely be considered by far the toughest bout of his recent career. “I need some tough fights. I have to improve. I [thought] he’s going to be easy on the ground but this guy improved a lot.

The victory will almost certainly see Makhachev succeed Volkanovski at the summit of the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings to determine the world’s best fighter across all weight classes when the latest list is issued on Monday. It was the first time in the UFC’s 30-year history that the fight league’s top two ranked pound-for-pound fighters fought in the Octagon.

I show why I’m number one,” Makhchev added in his post-fight interview. “They have to improve more. You like or you don’t like but I am the best fighter in the world right now.”

Volkanovski, who was fighting in front of a fiercely partisan crowd Down Under, added his congratulations to Makhachev afterwards.

Obviously a lot of people are going to be happy with that because they never gave me a chance,” said the Aussie, who had Makhachev in trouble on several occasions in the five-round fight. “I knew I prepared properly, it was a fun fight. Congrats to Islam.”

Makhachev, who has now won 12 straight fights, stands alone at the top of the UFC lightweight division. His victory ensures continued Dagestani dominance in the organization’s lightweight fold – just like the man he succeeded at the top of the division, his close friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov.