Is Bridge a sport? The English High Court decides!

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Further to my post of 22 September, 2015, entitled ‘Is Bridge a Sport?’ the English High Court has now decided that it is not!

Earlier, the decision of Sport England not to recognise Bridge as a sport, which was based on the ground that Bridge is not ‘physical’ and that Sport England’s role is to promote physical activity and health, was subsequently challenged by the English Bridge Union (EBU) in the English High Court.

On 15 October, 2015, the Court (Mr Justice Dove) has now come down on the side of Sport England and held that their decision was lawful. In other words, Bridge is not a sport within the terms of Sport England’s Royal Charter of 1996, which defines sport as a physical activity (English Bridge Union Limited v the English Sports Council and others [2015] EWHC 2875 (Admin) Case No: CO/524/2015).

The EBU is disappointed with this decision, which means that it will not be eligible for Government and/or National Lottery funding, and is considering its legal options.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

In particular, whether the EBU applies for the game of Bridge to be included in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and, if so, with what result! A decision on this is expected next year.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic and Author and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’