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Who's going to sue?

In July, the ACBL's Ethics and Oversight committee ruled in both the Fantoni-Nunes[1] and Fisher-Schwartz[2] cases that "teammates ... are subject to mandatory forfeiture of all masterpoints, titles and status ranks earned during the preceding four years calculated from the 2015 Spingold final"

A week ago, the ACBL's Appeals and Charges committee changed that so that the forfeitures applied "only during the 2015 Spingold Knockout Teams Championship"[3].

In comments under [3], Chris Compton, who has relevant legal knowledge, tells us that this change was made for fear of legal action, adding "Yes, there are people with real money who will sue. Can't you figure out that is why the A&C did what they did?"

However, it seems to me that all the relevant players have denied any intention to sue.  All F-N's ACBL recent titles were won playing on Pierre Zimmermann's team: he tells us that "whatever happens, I will sue nobody" [4].

F-S's 2015 Spingold win is forfeit even under the new ruling.  Their previous wins were on Richie Schwartz's team which famously renounced its wins in August 2015 [5]. " If you have a cheating pair on your team, I believe you should lose whatever Masterpoints, Seeding points and titles you have won together. The Schwartz team from the two previous cycles (Richie Schwartz, Allan Graves, Espen Lindqvist and Boye Brogeland) has decided to give up the Spingold Trophy, the Reisinger Trophy and the [Jacoby] Swiss that we 'won' in 2014 and 2015. We believe in a clean game and we love bridge."

The ACBL, in banning Piekarek and Smirnov, did not deprive their teammates of anything [6].  But it seems that there would be no legal trouble if they did.  Roy Welland, commenting on [6], wrote "I won a National Swiss and came 2nd in the Reisinger with PS. I would be very happy if those achievements (and any others earned with guilty players) were passed along to their rightful owners, or in the very least removed from the record books. I suspect most players in my position would feel exactly the same" (and his partner, Sabine Auken, 'liked' his comment).  Tony Forrester, replying to a comment by Jill Levin about his win on a team with P-S in the Mitchell BAM Teams, wrote ""It's yours Jill as far as I am concerned ... Sorry you didn't win on the day. I have lost rather a lot of events to cheating, so I know how you feel."

Looking further back, Richie Schwartz's team with Buratti-Lanzarotti won the 2005 Vanderbilt shortly before they were banned. Again, we know what Richie Schwartz thinks.

Further back still, so far as I know there has been no public statement by the teammates of Sion-Cokin who won the Mitchell BAM Teams in 1979.  Reportedly [8], they have declined suggestions made to them that they should relinquish their title.  However, there is very persuasive evidence that S-C were cheating in the event they won [9], which would seem to be problematic for any legal action against forfeiture.

Legal reservations aside, the principle of the original forfeitures seems to be unanimously supported on Bridge Winners.  Yet the ACBL has abandoned them in the face of legal threats from nobody?  Or is there someone I've not mentioned threatening action?  Or does someone I've quoted speak with a forked tongue?





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