Medellin, June 3 2016
1) What is your opinion after one year the cheating scandal exploded?
In august- september 2015, the cheating scandal exploded with 4 pairs accused publically of cheating. Germany, Italy and Israel started their own procedure to investigate the involved pairs and decide if they were guilty or not.
At the same time the European Bridge League decided to investigate those pairs because the reffered facts happened in Opatija 2014 during the European Team Championships.
The DBV (German Bridge Federation) sanctioned Piekarek-Smirnov guilty of infractions and convicted them with 4 years of suspension and banned from play together for life, after they confessed.
The FIGB (Italian Bridge Federation) sanctioned Fantoni-Nunes guilty of infractions and convicted them to 3 years of suspension.
The IBF (Israel Bridge Federation) started the disciplinary procedure against Fisher-Schwartz but they decided to wait the decision of the EBL Disciplinary Commission. 15 days ago, Fisher and Schwartz were sanctioned by EBL Disciplinary Commission with 5 years of suspension and banned from play together for life.
One week ago: EBL has taken the decision to refer the case of Balicki/Zmudzinski to the EBL Disciplnary Commission as the pair is suspected of committing infractions of the laws of Bridge.
Today it is possible that the same player for the same fact can be submitted to more than one jurisdiction: national, zonal or worldwide. To avoid this situation that can produce conflict of competences and different decisions, the WBF will submit to the Congress a protocol which can define the principle of exclusive jurisdiction in disciplinary matter.
Of course all the federation have to agree about the determination of these exclusive jurisdiction.
2) In Your opinion which are the consequences for our beloved sport?
In all sports, unfortunately, we can read every day about unethical behavior. For this reason, the IOC promulgated the Declaration of Integrity in Sport and the Rules to Prevent Unethical Behavior that the WBF immediately adopted since 2014.
We don’t have to believe to live in a paradise. At the same time we cannot tolerate cheating in our family. If someone is found guilty after a fair trial, he/she cannot be part of our family. We cannot convict someone only for rumors but we must follow the procedure.
3) What are the technical innovations to prevent the cancer of cheating?
First of all education. In all the aspects of life the most important thing is the prevention. Educating the players since they start to play bridge is fundamental but we need teachers who have the duty to instill the ethical play and the respect of the rules.
Who don’t follow the rules must be thrown out. In bridge there are no objective evidences, like in doping, so we must use tools that can guarantee, as much as possible, the regular and clean progress of the game.
The WBF introduced since 2010 the Disciplinary Code and its procedure, in 2014, as above mentioned, we adopted the IOC Declaration of Integrity in Sport and the Rules to Prevent Unethical Behavior. And, in addition, the WBF promulgates its own Code of Ethics. Starting from Bali, 2013, we introduced a system of online broadcasting of some matches with a double purpose: first to offer to the audience a live show ,as nicer as possible, and secondly to have under control the tables and everything that happens during the matches.
In Chennai 2015 we improved this system. Of course it’s not an easy process to discover if something unethical or in any case contrary to the law of bridge happens during our events and we need the help of all the people to fight this cancer.
4) What can you tell us about the High level Players Commission?
The HLPC is a Commission that can help the Prosecutor in his job. Everybody can send a complain through this express line form (http://www.worldbridge.org/hlpc-1. aspx) you can find in our website.
This process is absolutely confidential so that means that nobody knows and can’t spread any information except the people involved.
After checking the evidences, the HLPC can suggest to the Prosecutor to start the disciplinary proceedings against someone or not. In any case, starting from January 2016, all the cases submitted to the HLPC, except the clearly unfounded ones, will be registered in a specific archive. The archive constitutes a great support to the Disciplinary bodies if the person registered will incur in further cases.
5) Changing topic, WBF established a new development fund, could you tell us more about this initiative?
The purpose of this initiative is to give to the NBOs a support, helping them to improve and to grow in their activities of organizing and managing of the federations and in developing bridge in their countries.
The EBL started more than 10 years ago with a biennial seminar of NBO Officers and the initiative was and is very successful. The WBF Executive Committee decided to start to organize these Seminars meetings also in the other Zones.
According with Marcelo Caracci, President of Zone 3 and member of the WBF EC, we decided to start with South America and to organize the seminar during the 2016 CSB Championships, here in Medellin, because we thought this was a good opportunity to have all the CSB NBO Representatives at the same time and in the same place.
The WBF covered the cost of accommodation and per diem for 3 delegates per NBO for the Seminar period, so nobody had a cost because they already paid the travel expenses to attend the Championship.
In addition the WBF took at his charge the travel expenses of the speakers, so that the local organizer had to cover only the expenses for their accommodation.
I believe that the result of Seminar was very successful first of all because of the attendance: almost all the CSB NBOs attended the event and second, but not less important, all the participants had the opportunity to compare and face same issues and try to figure out common solutions.
The WBF wants to repeat this seminar in 3 or 4 years because I believe that the continuity and also the updates are very important.
Thank You so much.