WBF Disciplinary Code

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In accordance with the sporting ideals and precepts of the Olympic Charter, the World Bridge Federation expects its affiliated NBOs and their members to respect the principles of ethics and good conduct.

By WBF
On 2 January, 2016 At 12:47

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The WBF Disciplinary Code was approved by the WBF Executive Council at its Meetings in October 2011.

In accordance with the sporting ideals and precepts of the Olympic Charter, the World Bridge Federation expects its affiliated NBOs and their members to respect the principles of ethics and good conduct. In view of these principles, the Constitution prohibits political, religious or racial discrimination and any violation of human rights by the National Bridge Organizations (“NBOs”).

In order to guarantee, as far as this is possible, the above-mentioned principles, it has been decided to institute this Disciplinary Code to deal with any breach of the principles in question and any reprehensible conduct, in the sense of the clauses of this Code.

The Code is in accordance with Article 2 of the Constitution.

1. Introduction

In accordance with the sporting ideals and precepts of the Olympic Charter, the World Bridge Federation expects its affiliated NBOs and their members to respect the principles of ethics and good conduct. In view of these principles, the Constitution prohibits political, religious or racial discrimination and any violation of human rights by the National Bridge Organizations (“NBOs”).

In order to guarantee, as far as this is possible, the above-mentioned principles, it has been decided to institute this Disciplinary Code to deal with any breach of the principles in question and any reprehensible conduct, in the sense of the clauses of this Code. The Code is in accordance with Article 2 of the Constitution.

2. Responsibility of NBOs

Member status of the WBF concerns only the NBOs. With the exception of certain cases (for example, the suspension or banning of Head Tournament Directors or Appeals Committees), the WBF is not entitled to exercise directly its authority on the members of NBOs or to ensure that any sanction imposed on them is being enforced. Consequently, the WBF holds the NBOs responsible for the behaviour of their members and, if the case arises, for the enforcing of any sanctions that the WBF imposes against them. Any failure to uphold this responsibility will result in the WBF imposing sanctions against the NBO.

3. Reprehensible Conduct

Examples of reprehensible conduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) serious infringement of the WBF Constitution, By Laws or Regulations;

b) serious prejudice against the WBF, its Zones or any other NBO;

c) illicit actions or behavior affecting the proper running of the competition, or unethical conduct or the results of it, including violations of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge, cheating, and any betting purpose;

d) improper conduct towards any official or body of the WBF in performance of their WBF duties or functions, or towards any official or body of the Zones or NBOs of the WBF in performance of their duties and functions at a WBF event;

e) failure to respect financial obligations towards the WBF, its Zones or any other NBO;

f) failure to uphold contractual obligations towards the WBF, its Zones or any other NBO (for example, concerning the organization of events);

g) actions or behavior unbecoming a person participating in a WBF sanctioned tournament or event or a person attending a WBF sanctioned tournament or event, at the time and site of said tournament and event. Site includes, but is not limited to, the playing site, elevators, hallways, restaurants, bars and parking lots of the site of the event or tournament;

h) complete or partial failure – without valid reason – in respect of obligations linked to all functions exercised for the WBF or to any task carried out on behalf of the WBF;

i) corrupt actions, threats and/or other means intended to undermine the impartiality of the system of judgement or exercise an abnormal influence on the conduct of the affairs of the WBF;

j) knowingly making a false declaration or affirmation to WBF officials or bodies.

4. Sanctions liable to be imposed by the WBF

Depending on the gravity of the case, sanctions can take the following form:

a) Warning

b) Suspension of the NBO or the person concerned from one or several official events

c) Exclusion from participating in WBF activities;

d) Banning from participating in WBF events;

e) An order to pay the costs of the hearing and/or other monetary fine.

The Executive Council fixes annually the limit of the monetary fine.

Furthermore, an NBO can be excluded by a decision made by Congress. Other sanctions can be imposed within the framework of this Code, namely: suspension from responsibilities of a member elected to one of the organs of the WBF. Depending on the individual case, removal of the person(s) concerned (the decision to remove can only be made by Congress).

The above mentioned sanctions under the letters from b) to d) shall be officially communicated to all the WBF Zones and NBOs and possibly published on the WBF Web Site;

5. Anticipated action in case of reprehensible conduct

If the case arises, a Disciplinary Commission, “the Commission” appointed by the WBF President, rules on the cases of reprehensible conduct referred to the WBF. The Commission consists of three people selected by the President from a group of five approved by the Executive Council and including at least two members of the EC. The Commission includes at least one member of the Executive Council, who acts as Chairman of the Commission.

The Commission shall rule on cases of any NBO or person accused, in the framework of the above-mentioned sanctions.

Before a meeting of the Commission charged with examining a case of reprehensible conduct, the WBF Secretary informs the accused NBO and/or person of the time, date and place of the meeting in order to give the accused NBO and/or person the opportunity to report on this action – by attending the meeting or submitting written explanations. The accused NBO and/or person is at liberty to attend the meeting in person or by a designated representative and may be accompanied by legal counsel or advisor.

The Commission makes a ruling – by majority vote – and informs the defendant, WBF President and WBF Secretary within two weeks of any sanction that it has decided to impose. To appeal against the Commission”s decision, a written request to the WBF Secretary must be submitted within 20 days of notification of the aforementioned decision. This request must specify in detail the reasons for the appeal, indicate the desired redress and state whether an Appeal hearing is requested.

The Appeal is referred to an Appeal Tribunal casino constituted by the President. The Tribunal consists of three people who make a decision by majority vote. The Tribunal shall not include any member who was a member of the Disciplinary Commission which made the initial decision. The Appeal is examined in the 90-day period subsequent to the request, on the basis of a written document accompanied by probative elements or on the basis of a preamble presented by the appealing party. The appealing party may be represented.

The WBF General Counsel or his designee shall represent the WBF as the prosecutor before the Disciplinary Commission as well as before the Appeals Tribunal.

The decision of the Tribunal, which is definitive and binding for the WBF and the appealing party, is communicated to the latter within two weeks subsequent to the hearing. The expenses incurred by the WBF are to be borne by the appealing party, unless the Tribunal takes a decision contrary to that of the Commission.

6. Immediate intervention in cases of reprehensible action

When immediate intervention is necessary to deal with a reprehensible action (for example, in the case of prolonged, noisy behavior or protests preventing the progress of an event, or violent or offensive behavior disturbing a meeting), the person in charge is entitled to intervene immediately to restore order. In certain extreme cases, if necessary, the individual responsible may be forced to leave the premises. Subsequently, a report on the incident must be sent to the Secretary, who then submits it to the Executive Council.

7. Disagreements between the WBF and NBOs or disputes between NBOs

As well as cases of reprehensible action, disagreements can occur between the WBF and NBOs or between different NBOs. In such cases, and in accordance with the spirit of sport, recourse to tribunals should be avoided for such procedures involve significant expense and can cause adverse and untoward publicity.

The Statutes cannot include anything intending to prohibit judicial action by NBOs against the WBF, and vice-versa, but it is eminently desirable to resort to arbitration to settle disagreements, preferably with the Sports Arbitration Tribunal (TAS). In the case of arbitration, the arbitral sentence is of course binding for both parties. Another method of settling disagreements involves using mediation: in this case, both parties agree to resort to a third neutral party which meets both parties and endeavors to help them reach a mutually satisfactory solution.

8. Appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
8.1. The reasoned decision of the WBF Disciplinary Tribunal may be appealed exclusively to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Lausanne) to be resolved in accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration.
8.2. Any such appeal must be lodged within 21 days of the date of notification of reasoned decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal.
8.3. An appeal to CAS shall not stay the enforcement of the decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal.
8.4. In the event that the only sanctions imposed by the Disciplinary Tribunal are (one or more of) a reprimand and a monetary fine, the dispute shall be submitted to a Sole Arbitrator. In all other circumstances, the dispute shall be submitted to a Panel of three arbitrators.
8.5. The language of the CAS arbitral proceedings shall be English.

9. Entry into Force
9.1. This Code is entered into force immediately upon its approval by the WBF Executive Council on [To be inserted].

9.2. With respect to Reprehensible Conduct occurring before the entry into force of this Disciplinary Code, the substantive provisions of the Disciplinary Code in force at the time of such conduct shall apply; however, the procedures contemplated by this Code shall apply to the prosecution of such Reprehensible Conduct.

Guidelines for those empowered to impose a sanction on an offender in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules of the Zonal Authority and/or the NBO
The World Bridge Federation is desirous of encouraging Zonal Authorities and NBOs to adopt a consistent approach to the imposition of sanctions on those persons who are found to have breached its Disciplinary Code.
Cheating is considered to be the most serious offence that can occur within the sport of bridge. These guidelines are restricted to that nature of offence. Zonal Authorities and NBOs are likely to have their own structure for dealing with lesser behavioural offences.
The guidelines are intended to assist the Sentencer in determining the appropriate sanction for any person who admits or has been found guilty of cheating. It should be stressed that they are guidelines and not tramlines and each case must be dealt with on its own particular set of facts and circumstances.
Principles of Sentencing
The purpose of Disciplinary Codes:
(1) To ensure an acceptable form of behaviour by all those who participate in the playing of Duplicate Bridge;
(2) To ensure that all players play the game according to the Laws of Duplicate Bridge both in letter and spirit;
(3) To ensure that all those players who participate in the playing of Duplicate Bridge do so in a fair manner and with integrity.

The legal framework within which the procedures have application:
(1) Zonal Authorities and NBOs will usually have, and are encouraged to implement, a Disciplinary Code that sets out the processes and procedures that will apply in dealing with misconduct.
(2) There will usually be a relationship by which such Disciplinary Code will have application. This may arise contractually, by virtue of a membership agreement or by acknowledgement of being subject to the Disciplinary Code.
Sanctions
(1) Collusive cheating – pre-arranged methods of arranging unauthorised information by a partnership
1st Offence: Life ban from playing with that partner and a 10 years suspension from participation in Zonal and/or National events.
2nd Offence: Permanent ban from participation in Zonal and/or National events.
(2) Obtaining information relating to hands – actively seeking information regarding hands not yet played
1st Offence – 1 year suspension from participation in Zonal and/or National events
2nd Offence – 5 year suspension from participation in Zonal and/or National events

(3) Inadvertent cheating – obtaining information regarding a hand not yet played and then acting on that information when the hand is played
1st Offence – warning
2nd Offence – Suspension from participation in Zonal and/or National events for up to 2 years
Discounted sentencing
Life bans for partnerships are not subject to any discount.
The period of suspension for other sanctions may be discounted by one-third where the offender admits their culpability and demonstrates remorse.
David R Harris
General Counsel
World Bridge Federation
1st October 2015

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