Mr Aubry, EBL President, has sent a message to IBPA (International Bridge Press Association) to inform he has decided not to appeal against the judgement of CAS issued on the 10th January and notified to the EBL on 26th January 2018 (Fantoni and Nunes Case).
The EBL has the possibility to either appeal or not against the decision of CAS, made on the 10th January, not later than 26th February 2018. After the decision of CAS, the NBOs expressed some opinions on the present and future situation in Belfast. On 10th February, when we received the confirmation of this deadline from Mr. Ross Wenzel, our Swiss lawyer, I sent you an email including some elements for or against an appeal; I asked your opinion and your comments to be shared and circulated by email between all EC members. Except for Marc De Pauw, all of you have answered me mostly with detailed comments and proposals for the future. A large majority of you share the opinion of our Swiss lawyer that we not appeal against the decision of CAS:
• The grounds to appeal in the Swiss Federal Tribunal are extremely limited and EBL chances appear minimal;
• Even if successful, the case goes back to the same CAS panel with certainly the same decision;
• If, as it looks like, the EBL would lose this appeal, this would be seen as a new victory for the cheats.
All of us are disappointed and frustrated by this CAS decision. However some elements of reference in the judgement remain positive. CAS indicated:
• The fact that the unusual behaviour of the players justified both the inquiry and the disciplinary procedure conducted by the EBL;
• The EBL did not prove, to the comfortable satisfaction of the majority of the Panel, that the cards were not randomly placed because such apparent conclusion was based on unreliable statistics;
• But such conclusion does not mean that the players are innocent of any wrong doing,
• And future investigations by the EBL, based on more consistent and reliable data, may lead to a different outcome than in the present matter.
As you already know, the decision was made with a 2 to 1 majority vote after a nine-month period of reflection. Now it becomes clear that any claims against cheats cannot be based only on statistics but with additional elements of proof and that the EBL has to modify its Ethics and Code of Discipline.
After this failure before the CAS, we are in the same situation as the IOC which was disappointed with the CAS decision involving the infringements of the antidoping Code by Russian athletes in Sochi in 2014. In its award, the Panel of CAS did not take into consideration the proven existence of a systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system for 28 cases. CAS required an even higher threshold for the necessary level of evidence. The Secretary General of CAS insisted that the CAS decision does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared to be innocent of any wrongdoing.
In spite of this decision of CAS, the IOC decided not to invite those 28 athletes to the Pyeongchang games by declaring that “not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation”.
Similar to the Olympics Games, EBL championships are by invitation. For all these above reasons, on behalf of the members of the EBL Executive Committee, I have decided not to appeal against the decision of CAS made on the 10th January and notified to the EBL on 26th January 2018.
IBPA Bulletin, No. 638 March 10, 2018