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ABF: Guidelines for Online Bridge Events

The Australian Bridge Federation posted the followings:

Guidelines for ABF Online Bridge Events

  1. If there is an irregularity at the table in an online bridge session, the director should be called by pressing the blue button (with three white horizontal lines) in the top left-hand corner of the playing screen and selecting ‘Call Director’. Where possible, most irregularities will be resolved at this juncture.
  1. There may be instances where a player may not wish to ‘inflame’ the situation by accusing another player at the table of potentially questionable behaviour. Therefore, after the session has been completed, the player may wish an ABF specifically-appointed person to assess their complaint.
  1. Any player wishing to complain about another player’s and/or pairs’ alleged misbehaviour or suspicious activity should send an email to [email protected] (there are also other options including the Director of the event or ‘BBO Abuse’ [[email protected]]). It is strongly advised that the player making the complaint not post details on any social media platform or speak to anyone else (except perhaps their partner) about their course of action.Another source of input to the ABF National Online Recorder would be copies of complaints received by BBO that relate to ABF sanctioned online bridge events.
  1. All emails sent to [email protected] must contain the details of the event played, including the date and hand number (for specific situations rather than general complaints), plus a detailed account of the alleged incident and the ‘BBO’ login name(s) of the accused.
  1. The complainant will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder by email to acknowledge receipt of the complaint.
  1. There are two basic courses of action from this point forward:

-If the complaint is related to a player’s or pairs’ demeanour or general uncooperativeness at the table, then the details will be recorded in a register and the complainant notified of the action taken by the ABF’s National Online Recorder. Moreover, the accused will be notified and advised of the complaint against them and told that the details are written into a register but no further action will be taken at this time.

-If the complaint is deemed worthy of further examination it will be submitted to the Online Ethics Investigation Group.

  1. The Online Ethics Investigation Group comprises leading Australian bridge players who are skilled at investigating bridge hands for patterns and anomalies, and the National Online Recorder. Three members of the Online Ethics Investigation Group will initially be asked to decide on a complaint referred to it; as to whether there is a case to answer. If it is decided that further investigation is not required, the details of the incident will be logged in the register. The complainant will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder by email to indicate the result. Moreover, the accused will be notified and advised of the complaint against them and told that the details are written into a register but no further action will be taken at this time.
  1. If it is decided that further investigation is required, one member of the Online Ethics Investigation Group (but not necessarily one of the original three) will be asked to lead the investigation. This investigation will not only include the session in question but other sessions involving the same player and/or pair.
  1. After the investigation is complete, the result will be discussed with the National Online Recorder (and possibly other members of the Online Ethics Investigation Group). If it is decided that there is no case to answer, the details of the incident will be logged in the register. The complainant will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder by email to indicate the result. Moreover, the accused will be notified and advised of the complaint against them and told that the details are written into a register but no further action will be taken at this time.
  1. If it is decided that there is a potential case to answer, the complainant will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder. Furthermore, the accused will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder and the accused will be presented with the findings of the internal investigation. The accused is asked, either at the time or within two days, to respond to the allegations.
  1. The ABF’s National Online Recorder will document the findings of the investigation and the response from the accused and send these details to the ABF Ethics Committee.

-the complainant will be contacted by the ABF’s National Online Recorder by email to indicate that a disciplinary hearing will commence.

  1. The ABF Ethics Committee will be asked to initiate the case and decide whether or not the case is proved.
  1. Sometimes defendants admit the charge in which case the ABF Ethics Committee will meet to decide on a sanction. If the charge is contested then a hearing will be arranged. The ABF Ethics Committee has the power to call witnesses and to allow the defendant(s) to present their defence with a legal representative of their choice. If the charge is proved then the Committee will then consider the imposition of a sanction.

A sanction may be a reprimand or censure, a monetary fine, suspension from a particular event for a specified period of time, suspension from the ABF for a specified period of time or expulsion from the ABF. If sanctions are imposed, then the details will be published on the ABF website.

Published 22 October 2020

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