Bridge is not a sport: High Court judge backs Sport England stance over card game

The decision will affect possible lottery funding for bridge tournaments

Thursday 15 October 2015 11:33 BST
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Players taking part in the three-day international tournament for the British Bridge World Challenge Cup held at Selfridges, London in 1957
Players taking part in the three-day international tournament for the British Bridge World Challenge Cup held at Selfridges, London in 1957

Legions of bridge players in Britain may feel they've been dealt a rotten hand after a court decision endorsed an earlier ruling that the popular card game is not a sport.

A High Court judge today backed Sport England's assertion that bridge is not a sport because it does not involve physical activity. English Bridge Union officials had challenged the ruling in court.

Judge Ian Dove said in his ruling that he had not been tasked with answering the "broad, somewhat philosophical question" of whether bridge is a sport but simply whether Sport England had committed any legal errors in reaching its conclusion.

The decision will affect possible lottery funding for bridge tournaments.

Advocates for bridge had claimed that Parliament recognizes "mind sports" that build mental acuity.

Sport England officials said they recognize how challenging and popular bridge has become but that playing the game does nothing to improve the country's physical fitness levels.

The agency, which plays a role in distributing national lottery funds, also does not view chess as a sport.

AP

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