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Bridge Discipline and the IOC

In a recent article ( David Caprera asked for information about the financial benefit that NBOs receive from their affiliation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The intention was to try and perform a cost/benefit analysis of the relationships between national and international bridge organizations and the IOC. A common complaint about such relationship is that it supposedly places unacceptable constraints upon bridge organizations' ability to discipline their members. Since a serious discussion about the pros and cons of Olympic membership necessarily requires a precise understanding of the obligations that such membership entails, I asked the following question in a follow-up comment to Mr. Caprera's article:

Can anyone here provide an authoritative statement as to the exact extent to which national and international bridge organization must relinquish their authority over disciplinary rules as a condition for IOC affiliation?

I thought this question was a natural one to ask and relevant to the discussion at hand. Instead it elicited a barrage of angry replies, the tenor of which ranged from the dismissive ("Seriously?") to the piqued ("Do your own research work") to the outraged ("I can't believe you dare ask such question!" (paraphrased)). So I did do some research to answer my own question, and here's what I found out.

According to the WBF web page, the WBF status inside the IOC is that of an International Federation (IF). The rights and obligations of IFs recognized by the IOC are specified in Ch. 3 of the Olympic Charter (, which reads in part (p. 55):

The statutes, practice and activities of the IFs within the Olympic Movement must be in conformity with the Olympic Charter, including the adoption and implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code as well as the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions. Subject to the foregoing, each IF maintains its independence and autonomy in the governance of its sport.

Ch. 6 of the Olympic Charter deals with disciplinary measures and dispute resolution and states in part (p. 103):

Any dispute arising on the occasion of, or in connection with, the Olympic Games shall be submitted exclusively to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in accordance with the Code of Sports-Related Arbitration.

In summary, it looks like that the only obligations imposed by IOC recognition on the statutes of member IFs are that they should comply with the Olympic Charter, the World Anti-Doping Code and the code on Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions. Even recognition of CAS jurisdiction is mandated only in disputes arising on the occasion of, or in connection with, the Olympic Games. In fact, Ch. 3 of the Olympic Code on Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions ( explicitly allows for appeals to be heard internally by each Sport Organization (p. 81):

The Sports Organisation shall have an appropriate appeal framework within their organisation or recourse to an external arbitration mechanism (such as a court of arbitration).

All this confirms that my question, far from being "patronizing", was right on target, and that the often-repeated complaints about bridge organizations being hamstrung in their disciplinary powers by IOC recognition are, to a large extent, without merit.

P.S. Edited to remove non-working BB code.

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