October 15, 2015 / 10:39 AM / 2 years ago

A bridge too far: UK court says card game is not a sport

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - British lovers of bridge lost a legal battle on Thursday to have their card game recognised as a sport, thereby denying it access to funding enjoyed by the likes of darts, model aircraft flying, and angling.

The English Bridge Union (EBU), which has 55,000 members, went to London's High Court to argue that Sport England, a public body that provides grants to activities to help the nation get fitter, was wrong not to classify the card game as a sport.

The EBU said that the level of physical activity involved in playing bridge was not that dissimilar to that required to playing darts.

But the court rejected the EBU's demand for a judicial review.

"The question that arises in this case is not the broad, somewhat philosophical, question as to whether or not bridge is a sport," said Judge Ian Dove, saying the ruling was merely focused on whether Sport England had acted lawfully.

His conclusion said the case had centred on the phrase "physical training and recreation" which appeared in a 1937 parliamentary act and similar language used in a Royal Charter which set up Sport England.

He backed Sport England's case that this did imply an element of physical activity.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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