The controversy surrounding the matches forfeited against the Italian Open team during EBL’s online Qualifier (for the European Champions’ Cup in that case) in August 2021 has resulted in heated debate in the bridge community. In an effort to prevent similar occurrences in the future, the EBL initiated extensive discussions with its member NBOs. A special meeting was held in Paris in December 2021 and the matter figured prominently during the NBO Officers’ Seminar in Cyprus earlier this year.
The following is a summary of the conclusions reached:
- All stakeholders – WBF and Zonal organisations (together “IBOs”), NBOs and Players – must play their part in ensuring that what occurred during the Qualifier will not be repeated.
- IBOs should provide an agreed sanction structure, covering a range of offenses, that should be adopted by all NBOs in order to avoid wide discrepancies among various bodies.
- NBOs agreed not to nominate the most controversial players, such as those convicted by an official bridge court of collusive cheating (to be further defined in order to avoid subjectivity) to their National Teams for an additional period beyond any initial sanction.
- If an NBO feels that it is currently prevented from acting accordingly, it must remove any obstacles, perceived or real, whether it relates to its selection methods or other regulations. Participating in one’s national team cannot be a human right!
- IBOs should, if necessary, include compliance with points (3) and (4) above as a condition for membership.
- With IBOs and NBOs acting as above, the Players must do their part by accepting the decisions of those bodies, including their Credentials Committees, and abstaining from taking unilateral actions. It is unacceptable for individual players and/or NBOs to pick and choose against whom they want to play.”