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A ‘broad, somewhat philosophical question’

Is bridge a sport? An interested public and press wanted the High Court's answer to this question when
it decided the English Bridge Union's (EBU) judicial review
of Sport England's (SE) refusal to recognise it as a sport.

1 December 2015

However, Mr Justice Dove determined that he would not deal with this 'broad, somewhat philosophical question'. For him the real question was whether SE was wrong, in its recognition policy, to define sport as requiring physical activity. It was his response to that question that gave SE a legal triumph.

SE already recognises over 100 sports. Its current policy adopts the European Sports Charter's definition of sport as 'all forms of physical activity which... aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels'.

The EBU's two main arguments sought to demonstrate that SE had misconstrued the 1996 Royal Charter which created it, and section 3 of the Physical Training and Recreation Act 1937, which enabled the making of grants for 'physical training and recreation...

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