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Ilford club agrees bridge is a sport

PUBLISHED: 17:49 22 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:49 22 September 2015

A High Court judge has been asked to review Sport England's decision that bridge was not a sport. Picture Joe Giddens/Press Association

A High Court judge has been asked to review Sport England's decision that bridge was not a sport. Picture Joe Giddens/Press Association

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ilford Bridge Club’s organiser has agreed with legal action taken by the English Bridge Union after Sport England ruled that the game was not a sport.

A judge at the Royal Courts of Justice is to spend the next two days considering whether Sport England was right to rule bridge out as a sport.

Doreen Ross, organiser of the club based at St George’s Church Hall, Woodford Avenue, said she thinks that bridge should be classed as a sport.

If bridge was classed as a sport, it would be eligible for funding from Sport England.

Mrs Ross said: “Bridge is an exercise of the mind and if we got funding, we could participate in international competitions.

“It would also encourage young people to play the game.”

The bridge club has been running for 40 years and Mrs Ross is worried that the game’s future is bleak as it’s current members grow older without new members coming in.

Mrs Ross said: “We used to have lots of people coming but now our numbers are going down because our members are elderly.

“Young people need to be encouraged to take part.”

The union is using the 2011 Charities Act to define the meaning of the term sport as an activity which “promotes health by involving physical or mental skill or exertion.”

In addition organisers of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have invited a number of disciplines, including chess and bridge, to apply for inclusion in the games.

However, Sport England is using the Council of Europe’s definition of sport as an activity aimed at improving physical fitness and well-being.

Mrs Ross said: “It would only be good things that would happen if bridge was recognised as a sport.”

The club plays on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm. For further information contact Doreen Ross on 0208 550 1459 or doreenr@ntlworld.com


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