The Open team which will represent Italy in the 2014 European Championships (qualifying round of the next Bermuda Bowl) will be selected with a teams tournament (trials), which will take place in Salsomaggiore Terme (Parma) from the 30th of January to the 2nd of February 2014. The deadline to sign up is the 13th of January. The conditions of contest will be published soon: teams of at most six players can sign up, and should a 4 handed team win, the third pair will be directly picked by the Italian Bridge Federation (FIGB).
Why has FIGB decided to run trials? One answer comes from the program written during the electoral campaign in 2012 by current FIGB’s president Gianni Medugno:
In order to promote clarity and transparency, which are our values, we believe that the only way to choose the national teams is trials.
This is a delicate topic and we have strong feelings about it, especially given the situation the FIGB is currently in. Our starting point is the following principle: representing Italy is and will always be something to be unconditionally proud of. International competitions are all as important: world championships, Europeans and Olympics all deserve respect. We strongly believe that Sponsors have always played a crucial role to promote professional activities, and this is even truer in these days. Sponsors are precious for bridge. We know that sending our national teams to the Netherlands cost us roughly 150.000 euros, and when in the same year there happens to be more than one competition, we spend twice as much.
We are surely very grateful to all members of Italian teams (including coaches and mentors) who made us proud in the past few years. However, in the current financial and bridge crises, it is a priority for us to spend money on recruiting new members, teaching, and supporting the local clubs. We also think that trials will select strong and competitive teams which will do as well as past teams did.
For all these reasons, we believe that the only way to go is to run trials, open to anybody who wants to participate, for all categories (Open, Women, and Senior), and for all international competitions.
Trials will be a teams of six competition, the winning team becomes a national representative. Obviously, if a pair withdraws, a technical commission will pick a substitute pair. In order to deliver savings, trials will not only select the players, but will also raise money to send the teams abroad (trips, accommodation, …). If necessary, FIGB will contribute to the expenses.