Should bridge be recognised as a sport?

Is Bridge a sport. Players at the Bridge Club, Assembley Rooms, Brighouse.
Is Bridge a sport. Players at the Bridge Club, Assembley Rooms, Brighouse.
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Divisions have grown at a Brighouse bridge club as members come to head over a burning question - should bridge be classed as a sport?

The debate is going on at the Brighouse and Spen Bridge Club whether the activity should be regarded as a sport, not a physical one but a ‘mind sport’.

Is Bridge a sport. Players at the Bridge Club, Assembley Rooms, Brighouse. Barry Seal.

Is Bridge a sport. Players at the Bridge Club, Assembley Rooms, Brighouse. Barry Seal.

Barry Seal the chair of Brighouse Bridge Club said: “There are divided views amongst our membership.

“Most of our members would never think of bridge as a sport, especially the ones who are keen golfers.

“However the term ‘mind sport’ would be acceptable to more.

“We are not the only ones divided over whether bridge is a sport. This year, the Law Courts have been asked to decide on the question.”

The English Bridge Union (EBU) claim it ought to be recognised as a ‘mind sport’ and if it was, then goods bought to play bridge would be VAT free.

However, Sport England refused their request.

Sport England refused to recognise the game and said it was no more a sporting activity than “sitting at home, reading a book”.

Kate Gallofent QC, for Sport England, said: “Sport means all forms of physical activity aimed at improving physical fitness and wellbeing, forming social relations and gaining results in competition at all levels.”

The EBU want this refusal to be declared unlawful.

In the case, Mr Justice Mostyn, who has admitted enjoying a hand or two of bridge himself on social occasions, granted the Aylesbury-based union permission to mount a full judicial review of Sport England’s decision.

Bridge is card game devised well over one hundred years ago. An estimated 300,000 people regularly play Bridge in the UK.

It requires concentration, cooperation and is very good for building long term friendships.

It is also recognised for its ability to promote healthy longevity and stave off dementia.

New beginner classes start in Brighouse September 2 and Halifax on Thursday, September 3, at 7pm. For more details visit www.bridgewebs.com/brighouse/