Putting the Record Straight: Answering John Reyes and Mike Truran

Putting the Record Straight: Answering John Reyes and Mike Truran

Statement by Malcolm Pein, 20th September, 2021
For British Chess News / Immediate Release

The recent message from ECF Silver Members’ Representative John Reyes, posted on the forum is such an awful misrepresentation of my position that I can only conclude it’s deliberately designed to mislead. It’s quite an intellectual leap for John Reyes to read my election address, which lists, as the first possible use of the BCF Legacy assets as:

‘1) To build the reserves to an amount specified by the Finance Committee, likely £100,000’ and allege that I intend to, and I quote the Silver Members’ rep here:

“If you feel you want to blow the pif funds and spend money on development officers till the money is gone and it’s will vote (sic) for Malcolm but if you want the chess trust to kept (sic) hold of the money and used calculated and logic risk (sic), then vote for Mike”

Perhaps John couldn’t work out that I was referring to the ECF reserves which had shrunk to a dangerously low level of 33K last time the Board were updated. I am proposing allocating about 20% of the legacy assets (circa £200K) to reserves and then about 20% into engaging Development Officers with a well-defined role that includes fund raising.

As for his:

“Malcolm wants to transfer circa £200K into the ECF from the BCF/PIF according to his Election Address, how much of that would be needlessly lost to tax?”

Obviously I have considered this. I will shortly publish a road map of how these assets can be deployed to the benefit of the ECF while minimising any tax liability. We are fortunate to have an ECF NED who is a tax lawyer and I have been consulting him on this matter.
Silver Members really deserve better representation.

I would also like to set the record straight about a number of misleading statements sent out by Mike Truran in a ‘message to Council members’ on Sunday 19th September which do not stand up to basic fact-checking.

FACT-CHECK #1: Mike Truran claims that funds transferred to charitable funds outside ECF control are subject to more oversight.
NOT TRUE – It’s different oversight. ECF nominees to the Chess Trust & the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust are not accountable for how they spend funds to the ECF Board & Council. I will be proposing safeguards for any future transfers of BCF legacy assets to the Chess Trust.

In contrast, the spending of funds held directly by the ECF is democratically controlled by the ECF Board, ECF Council & the ECF Finance Committee.

FACT-CHECK #2: Mike Truran claims that I plan to use the Permanent Invested Funds transferred from the trust funds back to ECF control on “uncosted tactical adventures.”
NOT TRUE – All of my proposals to develop & grow English chess will be carefully costed out & put to the Board & PIF Trustees and run alongside a fund-raising campaign to generate income from private sponsors and government – a desperately-needed campaign that has been noticeable by its absence under this CEO.

FACT-CHECK #3: Mike Truran claims that the existence of three employees of the non-profit educational charity Chess in Schools and Communities on the 12-member ECF Board would represent a threat to good governance.
NOT TRUE: Firstly, only 2 CSC candidates are standing for voting Director positions, the other stands for Chair of Governance. Mike seems to be a little forgetful if not hypocritical here. If it is a governance problem having ECF directors from the same organisation, why was this not raised at any time in the three years prior to October 2020, when three 4NCL Directors (Mike Truran, Alex Holowczak and David Thomas) sat simultaneously on the ECF Board?
Also, as an educational charity, CSC is mainly focused on teaching chess in primary schools, it rarely interfaces with the ECF, while 4NCL is a for-profit private limited company, whose leagues and congresses compete to an extent with ECF events and already give it lots of votes at ECF Council.

FACT-CHECK #4: Mike Truran claims that I recently stated I would hand over to a new CEO after a ‘time-limited period,’ rather than serve a full term in office.
NOT TRUE: Of course, if elected I intend to serve the full term. This may refer to an email exchange from July 28, nearly two months ago, at a very early stage of negotiations between me, Mike and the Non-Executive Directors, when I thought it was still possible to reach a compromise on the way forward without a contested election. I made strenuous efforts to reach agreement with Mike, but his rejection of every offer to meet him halfway has left me no option but to stand for CEO to achieve the objectives that I believe are in the best interest of English chess.

There are, however, two circumstances in which I would consider leaving the post early:

1) Arkady Dvorkovich decides it was all a mistake, he wants to jack it in and he asks me to replace him as FIDE President.
2) Everton win the Premier League.

Place your bets.