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Can be bridge be considered as a sport? Bridge has a century of history and it has been played in many prestigious tournaments. Whether it is a sport or not will be decided by Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in London.
Sport England that promotes and finances sports competitions in the country has ruled that bridge and chess are not sports because they lack the required element of physical activity. According to Phil Smith director of Sport England, recognition of bridge as a sport will pave the way for claims from other activities like scrabble. As a result, Sports England was sued by the English Bridge Union. The High Court will decide on the potential government funding and tax benefits that are available to sports but not to games.
According to Smith, the job of Sport England it to make people fitter through physical activities and although bridge is a fantastic pursuit and provides pleasure to most people, it does not fit with their idea of making the nation fitter. Smith also suggested that an avalanche of newly recognized sports might deplete the resources of the British government that support a lot of sports activities.
In a ruling last April, Judge Nicholas Mostyn who was reported by the Press Association as a bridge player, said that there is more physical activity involved in bridge than in rifle shooting. However, the judge did not compare bridge to other sports that are more physically demanding like shuffleboard.
The late actor Omar Sharif was also known as bridge aficionado who wrote newspaper columns and books about the game. In fact, there were efforts to introduce bridge to schoolchildren so as to challenge their minds and sustain the game for the future generations.
At least one major multinational organization has officially classified bridge as a sport. The International Olympic Committee has recognized a long list of sports like Frisbee, competitive life saving and tug of war although they are not actually contested at the Games. Unfortunately, bridge did not make it to the shortlist that will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. It lost to sports like climbing, bowling and the martial art wushu.