The European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that the card game is not a sport, even when played by multiple competing teams. Like many disappointments, this one traces its roots to a dispute on taxes. The court's decision came in response to a case ...
But, the court said, that does not automatically make it a sport and certainly not for tax purposes.
The bridge union said in a statement that it was “very disappointed that the VAT burden which makes it harder to get more people playing this fantastic pastime will not be removed.”
The group has long rejected arguments like the one made by the court and said on Thursday that its game had “many of the attributes of more recognized ‘sports,’ such as organized competition, training, and exertion.” Bridge was also “an excellent way of improving mental acuity and delaying the onset of dementia,” it added.
The organization said that most European Union member states allowed tax exemptions for “bridge activities” and that it feared the court’s decision could result in new taxes being levied on bridge players across Europe.
But the ruling did contain one potential bright spot for bridge players.
The court said its decision should have no impact on whether the national authorities considered bridge to be eligible for a tax exemption as a “cultural service,” or as an activity that “holds such a place in the social and cultural heritage of a country” that it deserved to be protected in some way.
The English Bridge Union said that it was “pleased by the court’s suggestion, and welcomes the possibility that bridge activities may yet be exempted from VAT,” but that it would have to “consider the implications of the suggestion.”
Tax Credits Deductions and Exemptions,Value-Added Tax,Cards and Card Games,Bridge (Card Game),European Court of Justice,English Bridge Union