Bridge sport bid ban backed by old players

Sport England refuses to recognise bridge as a sport because it does not involve ''physical activity''.
Sport England refuses to recognise bridge as a sport because it does not involve ''physical activity''.
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A Poulton card game enthusiast today said he is ‘not surprised’ that bridge has been rejected as a sport by the High Court.

English Bridge Union officials tried to get the game declared an official sport by Sport England in September – but were told by a High Court that it was not a sport because it does not involve “physical activity” and is just like “reading a book”.

Poulton Bridge Club chairman Geoff Cowell

Poulton Bridge Club chairman Geoff Cowell

Poulton Bridge Club chairman Geoff Cowell, 70, said said: “I would have been very surprised if it had been ruled a sport.

“There have been suggestions that bridge should be a sport because the brain is a muscle – but it’s very complex and different from other muscles.

“It’s a very intellectual game but its not a sport because you don’t run around and get all sweaty and tired.”

Bridge is not the first low-energy game that has been denounced as a sport by Sport England officials.

Mind games such as chess are rejected on the grounds that they are not aimed at “improving physical fitness and well-being, forming social relations and gaining results in competition”.

Despite this, Sport England has invested in both angling and model aircraft flying as valid sports.

Retired teacher Mr Cowell, who lives at Victoria Road Cleveleys, maintains that bridge has its own benefits to people’s wellbeing.

He said: “Bridge gives you a mental challenge and helps keep the mind healthy, whether you’re old or young.

“I think if chess can be a sport then bridge should too because they both challenge the same parts of the brain.”