Bridge is a sport, says European Court of Justice adviser, with ‘mental skill’ as important as physical exertion –

However, critics point out that it recognises darts and snooker, sports that can hardly be said to require great physical exertion.

Judges in the High Court and the Court of Appeal backed HMRC. The European Court’s decision will be published in the coming months and will heap pressure on Sport England to review their list.

Other European countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands – recognise bridge as a sport.

Peter Stockdale, spokesman for the EBU, welcomed the prospect of a tax rebate but said the ruling would have broader implications.

“It would also help us to promote bridge in schools. If it was on a list as a valid sport, we would be able to get many more youngsters playing. It would mean you can be good at sport without having to kick a ball or swing a racquet.

“For some children it will be far more beneficial to their personal development than getting picked last for the football team,” he said.

“We need an influx of younger people and there is an element of ‘cool’ that comes with sport.”

Bridge and chess players have to fund training, facilities and travel to international tournaments with no government support.


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