Not the real deal: EU court rejects claim that bridge is a sport

English Bridge Union loses long-running legal fight as judges rule a sport must involve ‘a not negligible physical element’

It has been the subject of many a heated bar room argument, often among those gathered by the dartboard or pool table nursing a pint: what exactly is a sport? Now, after months of contemplation, the European court of justice has declared its take.

In response to a legal claim by the English Bridge Union (EBU) for the card game to be given the status of a sport, judges in the Luxembourg court have ruled that a sport must involve “a not negligible physical element”, or at least it should for tax purposes. The EBU had been seeking VAT exemption on the entry fees to its competitions, something that is granted to events classified as sports but which HMRC has denied the bridge union.

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