The Minister of Tourism and Sports Aziz Abdukhakimov said two months ago that the issue had been resolved. But federation officials say it was false information.
On May 26, Deputy PM, Minister of Tourism and Sports Aziz Abdukhakimov answered questions from Kun.uz correspondent as part of the “Tashkent 5 Initiative Movement”. During the conversation, in particular, the issue of non-payment of salaries to employees of the Chess Federation of Uzbekistan for 6 months was raised, and then Abduhakimov said that this issue has been resolved.
“In less than six months, the issue was resolved in a little less time. I personally dealt with it. You know, the federation has had a lot of problems before that. A number of our talented, young girls were not given opportunity. A few people only sent their relatives to international tournaments. We have eliminated that as well,” he said.
We believed that the issue would be resolved after the above answer of Aziz Abdukhakimov, who also heads the Chess Federation. But...
These days, one of the officials of the Chess Federation has contacted the editorial office about the issue of salaries. According to the source who asked for anonymity, Aziz Abdukhakimov’s answers to Kun.uz on the issue of salaries are completely false. He hasn’t solved the salary issue yet. Employees of the organization still work without pay.
He told us the following:
“The salary issue in the federation started in April last year. At that time, the management quarantined the employees of the federation on unpaid leave. But at the same time, the work continued online. We worked online from April to the end of the year – December.
In January 2021, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev issued a decree “On measures to further develop and popularize chess and improve the system of training chess players”. According to this decision, significant work has begun on the development of chess in Uzbekistan, as well as on the issue of salaries of employees of the federation. For example, in January 2021, a loan was taken from the Central Chess Club, and from this loan, employees were paid salaries for January-February. But the monthly payment to the employees was suspended again, with the exception of those two months.
Unfortunately, we have been working without a salary for 5 months. In fact, many employees, including myself, live on credit,” the federation official said.
He added that employees have not been paid any bonuses or incentives during the past period. The money received from the chess club remains a debt of the federation.
“I have heard that the issue of salaries is often addressed to higher authorities, letters are issued, but we have not seen a solution. They say that chess will be developed and popularized, but the employees of the federation do not receive a salary, how can chess be popular?” the federation official concluded.
Kun.uz correspondent received a comment on this information from the head of the Cabinet of Ministers’ Secretariat for Tourism and Sports Obid Kudratov.
“I am partially aware of this issue. But our Chess Federation is not a budgetary, but a non-governmental organization. It is funded by sponsorship and the funds it generates. Uzbekneftegaz JSC, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine JSC, Aloqabank and the Agency for Regulation of the Alcohol and Tobacco Market and Development of Wine are attached to the chess federation as sponsors.
We have issued letters asking these organizations to help develop chess. But payments are protracted. To be honest, this is a process involving other individuals, organizations, not us. They cannot be forced, but we are paying the expenses from the budget,” Kudratov said.
We also contacted Otabek Eshmamatov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, who is currently on a working visit to Tokyo. He said the situation at the chess federation may be related to the ongoing inspections at the organization.
“I am aware that the employees of the federation are not paid. I think this is probably due to the fact that the salaries of the organization’s previous management were frozen in order to inspect its activities. The situation will be further investigated,” he said.
The Chess Federation of Uzbekistan has ten specialists. The investigation revealed that several professionals, who had been working without pay for almost a year, had also started leaving the organization.
We hope that the person in charge of the industry and its development, as well as sponsors, will find a solution to the difficult situation in the Chess Federation of Uzbekistan. It is necessary to complete legal settlements with employees who work in the organization for such a low salary.