Iranian chess referee Shohreh Bayat says the game's global body has kicked her off a commission because of a gesture of solidarity with protests in Iran.
The feud with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) occurred after Bayat wore a T-shirt bearing the main motto of the current wave of antigovernment protesters "Women, Life, Freedom" at a tournament in Iceland in October, soon after rallies began following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
The 35-year-old international referee, who is among a string of sports figures to clash with authorities over the mandatory hijab policy and express solidarity with anti-government demonstrators, told Reuters that "I don't think it's normal to stay quiet about this,"
She noted that the FIDE had removed her from its arbiters' commission after she angered its President Arkady Dvorkovich, a former Russian deputy prime minister from 2012 to 2018.
Bayat, who was also accused by Iran of violating hijab practice at a tournament in 2020, said Dvorkovich asked her to change her attire in Iceland. She reappeared at the tournament in a yellow suit and blue blouse: the colors of the Ukrainian flag. FIDE confirmed Dvorkovich had requested she not wear the shirt about women's rights.
Bayat accused Dvorkovich of succumbing to geopolitics, saying, "Iran and Russia are very united in the war against Ukraine. When I was told by Dvorkovich to take off my T-shirt, that was the reason probably. My T-shirt was not political at all ... It's one of the most beautiful women's rights messages in the world."