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All comments by Nick Krnjevic
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IIRC, Peter Pender was unable to secure entry visas to a number of countries in the late 8o's.
Jan. 18, 2018
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The bidding is consistent with West, who meant to bid 2S on his previous turn, having mistakenly bid 2H.
Jan. 18, 2018
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Melanie- I am saying that the contribution to legal fees awarded by the panel is a small fraction of the legal fees F-N incurred.
Jan. 18, 2018
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Melanie - the arbitration cost award is separate from the legal fee award. As the CAS notes, it has great discretion in awarding the latter:

“126. Article 864.5 of the CAS Code provides:

In the arbitral award, the Panel shall determine which party shall bear the arbitration costs or in which proportion the parties shall share them. As a general ride, the Panel has discretion to grant the prevailing party a contribution towards its legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the proceedings and, in particular, the costs of witnesses and interpreters. When granting such contribution, the Panel shall take into account the outcome of the proceedings, as well as the conduct and the financial resources of the parties.”

F-N were awarded a trivial sum for legal fees (considered in the context of what they spent).


The arbitration cost allocation also contains comments that are critical of F-N:

“127. In the case at hand, in view of the outcome of the arbitration and the circumstances of the case, in particular the fact that the unusual behaviour of the Players justified both the inquiry and the disciplinary procedure led by the EBL, the Panel determines that the costs of the arbitration, to be calculated by the CAS Court Office and communicated separately to the parties, shall be paid as follows: 20% of the costs by the Appellants and 80% by the Respondent.”
Jan. 18, 2018
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Barry - the Scots offer this option in criminal cases. Juries can render a verdict of “not proven” if they think the accused probably committed the crime, but the Crown didn't quite meet it's burden of proof.

The CAS panel's decision to award F-N only 2000 CHFr. in legal fees may be seen as an indication that the majority have few illusions about F-N.

Per the ruling, the CAS has great discretion when it comes to awarding legal fees. So I view the award of an amount that represents a very small fraction of the legal fees that F-N incurred as an implicit rebuke.
Jan. 18, 2018
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Agreed.
Jan. 18, 2018
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Ray - I think we are at cross-purposes. As I stated in my first, lengthy post on the CAS, my. beef isn't with that body. As I indicated, per its regulations, the CAS panel was fully entitled to conduct a de novo hearing.

My complaint was that which has since been echoed by Don M and Marty H. I don't blame the CAS; I blame the EBL (or rather, as Don has more accurately pointed out, the WBF) for having chosen the wrong body for the task it needs performed.

As I have stated elsewhere, I agree that an independent body should hear NBO appeals in order to ensure that the parties received a fair hearing. The focus should be on protecting the parties' procedural rights.

But that's not what the CAS does. And I think you and I are on the same page on that point.

And I could probably be persuaded that it may be useful, in limited circumstances, to have an appeal panel that has extensive bridge experience hear appeals that focus on bridge errors of fact committed by the NBO panel.

But the CAS clearly isn't qualified to perform that role.

Which is why my initial post argued that the EBL should adopt a proper appeal process that does not include the CAS.

Unfortunately, as Don has pointed out, it seems that the EBL is stuck with the CAS process until such time as the WBF severs it's link with the IOC.
Jan. 18, 2018
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Giorgio - as was pointed out in response to your comment on the other thread, there is a very significant difference between this case and the Italian civil appeal process that you reference.

In particular, it is one thing for three generally technically illiterate appeal judges to hear new technical evidence and set aside the factual conclusions of a similarly technically illiterate lower court judge.

But it is quite another for a technically illiterate CAS panel to hear new evidence and set aside the factual findings made by the EBL's far more experienced first instance panel.
Jan. 17, 2018
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Greg - for the reasons set out below, if you're going to have a trial “de novo” in which the “appeal” panel can substitute its own findings of fact for those made by the far more bridge-savvy EBL panel, then the CAS panel should have a background in bridge as well as experience with statistics.

As a general rule it is a losing tactic for lawyers to try and attack the validity of the opposing expert's technical analysis (assuming the expert is a genuine expert).

The expert knows a *great* deal more about his/her specialty than does the opposing lawyer, and the latter will get crushed trying to trip up the expert on the science.

Instead, a very common method of attacking the expert's report is to establish that the factual foundation of same is contradicted by other factual evidence.

In other words, the lawyer will agree that the opposing expert's theory is sound, but will argue that the Court should place no value on the expert's report because it is based on facts that are not consistent with those that are put into evidence and accepted by the judge.

So the findings of fact (which are determined by the trial judge) are of particular importance, since the fate of the expert report turns, in no small measure, on the extent to which the factual foundation relied on by the expert is consistent with the factual evidence that the judge decides to retain.

Since the the CAS panel is hearing new witnesses, and determines which factual evidence should be retained, it is particularly important that the panel members should have the practical experience necessary to make informed findings of fact on bridge matters.
Jan. 17, 2018
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Thanks Greg - Carelessness on my part. Particularly since I had taken David B. to task for having made that mistake a week ago.
Jan. 17, 2018
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Tomislav - the CAS ruling provides an example of an NBO that had adopted regulations which made it easier for that body to rely on statistics to prove its case before the CAS:

“49. It is true that the panel of the case CAS 2015/A/4351 VSL Pakroujo FK et al y. Lithuanian Football Federation sanctioned the appellants based on ”suspicious conducts“ that resulted from statistical studies but this was only because the disciplinary code of the Lithuanian federation allowed it to do so. In casu, the EBL regulations do not permit sanctioning based on suspicions and, for this reason only, the Appealed Decision shall be annulled as there is no direct evidence proving the alleged Code.”

But that “solution” has it's own problems.

I'd be very uncomfortable depriving someone of their livelihood on the ground that statistical evidence establishes, to a degree of “comfortable satisfaction”, that they engaged in “suspicious conduct”.
Jan. 17, 2018
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Don - at least the members of that majority are consistent.

4 out of 5 them dissented in Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868 (2009.

That *minority* opinion would be another useful standard against which to measure the CAS ruling.
Jan. 16, 2018
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David - since Plessy,regrettably,was entirely consistent with the then-prevalent mainstream thinking, the analogy seems wide of the mark.

A better standard to compare the CAS ruling with would be the majority decision in Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51 (2011).

You couldn't make up those facts, and get that result, because no one would believe you.
Jan. 16, 2018
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Melanie - corruption seems to be a stretch.

I think it is preferable to apply Hanlon's Razor:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
Jan. 16, 2018
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Brad - dealing ghoulies produces some truly spectacular deals.

I organize a game every weekend for a friend and some time bridge partner who has been in hospital for 15 months. To liven the hands up, we play “ghoulies”

The hand of 2017 was the following:

Sitting in 4th seat, at unfav.(imps), I picked up:

AJT9xxxxxxx; A; A; void.

The auction went

(1H)-P-(2D game force) to me.

I passed, hoping one of the opps. would eventually bid NT holding the 2 outstanding spades.

The auction continued:

(2H)- P- (3D)- P;

(4C) – P – (5D).

Since each had passed up the opportunity to bid 3NT, it seemed spades were 1-1.

So I bid 7S.

2 seconds later the opponents were scoring up +400.

I could have passed 5D for the same result…..
Jan. 16, 2018
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Agree entirely - the “pitchfork and torch” brigade would have a much better appreciation of the benefits of the rule of law if they spent some time in countries that do not have an independent judiciary.

But it's a shame the CAS didn't have the option of rendering the Scots verdict of “not proven”, which is the jury's way of saying “we think you did it, but the evidence doesn't quite reach the level required for a conviction”.
Jan. 16, 2018
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Amen Marty -MLB was cheerfully prepared to turn a blind eye to flagrant steroid abuse as long as the doped-up homer-run hitters generated huge TV ratings.

Until very recently the NHL and the NFL were just as keen to ignore substantial evidence on the dangers of head-shots because their “real fans” tuned in in greater numbers to see the ‘action’.
Jan. 15, 2018
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Giorgio - I am not familiar with continental European appellate procedure. In the UK, and North America, including the civil law jurisdictions of Quebec and Louisiana, appeal courts do not hear new evidence save in exceptional circumstances.

But I think that is beside the point.

It is one thing for three generally technically illiterate appeal judges to hear new technical evidence and set aside the factual conclusions of a technically illiterate lower court judge.

But it is quite another for a technically illiterate CAS panel to hear new evidence and set aside the factual findings made by the EBL's far more experienced first instance panel.

Even worse,the CAS panel's ruling is not subject to appeal,regardless of the mess it might have made.
Jan. 15, 2018
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“CAS's decision doesn't change that, it just means this particular punishment is overturned because they didn't prove the case to the satisfaction of the CAS.”

Barry - “overturned” is what happens when an appeal court reverses the first instance ruling after assessing the merits of same solely in light of the facts that were introduced into evidence before the lower court.

The CAS didn't “overturn” anything.

It held a new hearing, and came to a different conclusion, based on different evidence.

So there have been two hearings,and two rulings, each based on different proof.

And the glaring problem with the CAS process is that although the win/loss hearing score is EBL 1 - F-N 1, the final outcome is F-N 1 - EBL(and the rest of the bridge world)0, even though there has not been any ‘appeal’ hearing in the true sense of the word.

So if both the EBL tribunal and the CAS tribual make a mess of the ruling each renders on the basis of the *distinct* facts put in evidence before them, the CAS' mess counts, while the EBL's doesn't.

Great system…..
Jan. 14, 2018
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Jon - the bidding is best understood as being within the range of acceptability in the robot 55% game, which features wild matchpoint operating predicated upon exploiting the bots fatal tendency to believe that the human has his/her bid.

A review of USLA's score-card will provide you with a useful illustration of an extreme example of the principle.
Jan. 14, 2018
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