The opinion was issued in the proceedings regarding the complaint of the AA Association, filed against the Chess Federation of Serbia, due to discrimination on the basis of gender. In the complaint, it was stated that the Chess Federation of Serbia published an announcement on the occasion of the international open chess championship of Serbia “Serbia Open 2021”, in which the conditions are discriminatory for women, due to the lower prizes provided for women in the “master” group. It was also stated that the announcement is characterized by a partial use of gender-sensitive language, as well as that within the “registration fee”, in the “masters” group, a different/lower fee for women, as stipulated in the “amateur” group, is not provided. In the statement to the complaint of the Chess Federation of Serbia, it was stated, among other things, that the competition was not divided into male and female categories within the two groups, “masters” and “amateur”, that both men and women compete in both of these groups, and that the only the partition that exists in the competition is the partition into two groups: “masters” and “amateur”. It was also stated that the prizes for women represent additional prizes for female competitors, in addition to the regular prizes, and that the reason for envisaging additional prizes for women is the stimulation of women to practice chess and their affirmation in this sport. The statement also points out that the different rules on the amount of registration fees are based on international chess rules and established international practice in the chess sport. In the course of the proceedings, it was established that the distinction made by the Chess Federation of Serbia, by stipulating in the announcement on the occasion of the international open chess championship of Serbia “Serbia Open 2021”, which was held in Belgrade from July 2 to 8, 2021, special awards for women within the “masters” group, represents a special (affirmative) measure for women/female chess players at this tournament. Namely, the Commissioner noted that in this way the Chess Federation of Serbia did not prescribe lower prizes for female chess players compared to male chess players within the masters group of the competition, but determined special/additional prizes for certain categories of competitors in this tournament, which they considered to be in a disadvantageous position and need special support. Also, the Commissioner, assessing the assertion from the statement, concluded that the Chess Federation of Serbia, when prescribing additional prizes for women, within the “masters” group of the competition, wanted to stimulate women to play chess and encourage their affirmation in this sport. Furthermore, regarding the use of gender-sensitive language, the Statute of the Chess Federation of Serbia prescribes a special provision that refers to the use of gender-sensitive language, while at the beginning of the published announcement it was stated that all male and female chess players have the right to participate. The Commissioner considers that the Chess Federation of Serbia recognizes the importance of using gender-sensitive language, although the use of the feminine gender was absent in one part of the call for category/name (women veteran, in addition to veteran). Therefore, the Commissioner issued the opinion that by publishing the announcement on the occasion of the Serbian Open International Chess Championship “Serbia Open 2021”, which was held in Belgrade from July 2 to 8, 2021, the Chess Federation of Serbia did not violate the provisions of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY