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Has the World Bridge Federation put up an Iron Curtain?

Without getting into specific cases, there are some ways in which the WBF has conducted itself recently that have troubled many people.

Here are two major issues (and I'm sure there are more):

1.  There is a trend toward more secrecy rather than less.  For example, the Credentials Committee has been given the power to revoke credentials of any players without explanation.  Whatever we think about the particular action the WBF took in Chennai in that regard, it is troubling to me that they have that power.  Remember "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  It gives that inner circle of people too much power to just decide to "uninvite" players at will.  And, if people say "oh, that could never happen" -- aren't we surprised at some of the things that have happened, such as not only not apologizing but using phrases such as "lynch mob" and "kangaroo court" with reference towards Boye and his "posse"?

Also, IMO eliminating Appeals Committees is a really bad idea.  I've learned a lot from reading about the (public) appeals committees and their rulings.  Can they ever get things wrong?  Yes, of course.  But -- as an example, look at the Iraq war initiated by the George W. Bush administration.  Whatever you think about it -- and many believe it was one of the worst foreign policy decisions in the history of the United States -- we haven't decided to change our form of government to an oligarchy, did we?  We didn't decide to dump democracy.  Democracy isn't perfect, and neither are Appeals committees.  Still, to me, they are a heck of a lot better (in certain, specific cases) than unnamed person(s) making decisions that they do not have to explain.

2.  The Olympics effort.  I admit that, probably like many others, I hadn't paid much attention to this.  But, now it seems to me (and Fred Gitelman is the one who brought this up), that lots of resources have been put into this which, as a practical matter, have drained time and money away from more important things.  For example -- earlier this year the WBF issued a multi-page policy about drug testing/anti-doping regulations.  That was done -- but no detailed policies and procedures about stopping cheating.  Which is more important to the majority of high-level bridge players?

Also, I had never heard about "CAS" -- some sort of court of appeal that athletes can appeal to if they get booted (I haven't read up on the details, but I assume that if an athlete is barred from competition or is about to have his/her medal(s) taken away, that (s)he can bring a case to CAS).  This could be a disaster if applied to bridge.  Not only could a case drag on for a very long time -- draining lots of time and money away -- but, as someone on one of the threads pointed out, the CAS people would be unlikely to understand bridge.

What to do?  I don't know.  But, since the WBF is made up of national and zonal organizations, presumably those who want to do anything effective will need to strategize and plan a course of action.  At this point, I think that these matters affect everyone who is a member of any of the relevant organizations -- perhaps most especially in Europe and North America.

 

 

 

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