UK
22/09/2015 09:12 BST | Updated 22/09/2015 09:59 BST

High Court Judge To Decide If Bridge Should Be Classified As A Sport

It’s a conundrum we’ve all grappled with, but now a High Court judge has been brought in to decide whether bridge is a sport.

Mr Justice Dove is expected to analyse argument over the next two days at a High Court hearing in London, according to the Press Association.

The English Bridge Union (EBU) took legal action after Sport England refused to recognise the card game as a sport.

bridge cards

Bridge could be classified as a sport following the hearing

Union officials say recognition that bridge is a sport will have “beneficial consequences” for the game.

An EBU spokesman said: “Sport England refused to recognise bridge as a sport, a position which the EBU believes to be inconsistent with both the wishes of Parliament, and the opinion of significant international sporting organisations.

“When ruling on what constituted a sport in the 2011 Charities Act, Parliament specifically included 'mind sports', stating that sport comprised 'activities which promote health involving physical or mental skill or exertion’.”

He said bridge required “undoubted levels of mental skill” and had “known health benefits”.

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When he granted permission for a judicial review earlier this year, Judge Mr Justice Mostyn, himself a bridge player, spoke out about the game’s physical nature.

According to the BBC, he said: "You are doing more physical activity playing bridge, with all that dealing and playing, than in rifle shooting."

Some concerns have been raised over the implications classifying bridge as a sport could have on funding.

Phil Smith, director of Sport England, said that such a decision could “open the door” to other pursuits such as chess and Scrabble being classified as sports, diluting the organisation’s budget.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's Sport England's job to get the nation fitter.

“And although bridge is a fantastic pursuit, and we think it probably gives pleasure to a lot of people, it certainly isn't getting the nation any fitter."