On 15th November, 2017 the German Bridge Federation (DBV- Deutsche Bridge Verband) has posted the verdict issued by the Court of Düsseldorf: The sanctions by the German Bridge Federation and the World Bridge Federation to Elinescu and Wladowhe are invalid. The full text of the verdict will be posted in the next weeks.
On 16th November, 2017 the World Bride Federation (WBF) has released the followings:
In March this year the German Federal Court in Cologne dismissed a Claim brought by Michael Elinescu and Entscho Wladow (E-W) against the WBF in respect of its decision to ban them for life from playing together in any WBF event and an individual ban of 10 years. The Court found that the arbitration clause within Article 13 of the Constitution of the WBF applied and was governed by Swiss Law by virtue of the seat of arbitration being based there. The Court further found that the players had subjected themselves to the WBF regulatory framework and that any remedy would only have been available via an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
E-W appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal in Dusseldorf; it pronounced its judgment on 15th November 2017.
The Appeal Court allowed the appeal in respect of the applicability of the Arbitration clause; it decided that E-W as individuals were not subject to the imposition of sanctions by the WBF. The Court declined to make any economic award for damages but acknowledged that E-W may have suffered some loss to reputation as a result of the sanctions imposed.
The Court has also ordered that the German Bridge Federation re-admit E-W as members of its Federation. The Court refused to order the annulment of the decision taken by the WBF Executive Council to strip E-W of their gold medals and withdraw their title of World Champions.
The Court did not consider or determine the merits of the offences of cheating that were levelled against E-W and had been found proved by the WBF Disciplinary Commission in Dallas in March 2014 and affirmed by the WBF Appeal Tribunal in Lausanne in July 2014.
The Appeal Court will provide its written judgment with its rationale in due course; it is anticipated that this is likely to be in the New Year. The WBF will consider the matter further upon receipt of the written judgment and decide whether it should seek permission to appeal the matter to the German Federal Court of Justice.
David R Harris
World Bridge Federation
The full story. On the 23 March 2014 the World Bridge Federation (WBF) found Entscho Wladow and Michael Elinescu guilty of cheating by exchanging Unauthorised Information by coughing during the final of the World Seniors Team Championships held in Bali. The Disciplinary Committee of the WBF imposed a lifelong ban playing as a pair, and a ten-year ban barring them playing as participants in any sanctioned event. Following the WBF’s decision the German Bridge Federation (DBV) decided to adopt similar sanctions. Therefore, Elinescu and Wladow filed an appeal in Cologne against the WBF and the DBV. The verdict of the Court of Cologne was announced on the 28th March 2017. The outcome of the proceedings was first announced by the German newspaper ‘Kölnische Rundschau’ in its 30th March edition and then confirmed by a Press Release issued by the Court of Cologne on the 31st March. When the verdict of the Court of Cologne has been delivered to the lawyer of the DBV, the DBV released an official statement on the verdict and all the previous news are confirmed: a) The Court stated that the sanctions imposed by the DBV to Elinescu and Wladow are unfair and therefore invalide. b) The Court also stated that the DBV is liable for all damages caused by the sanctions to the players. c) The appeal against the WBF was dismessed. On May 2017 the DBV filed an appeal against the verdict issued by the Court of Cologne to the Court of Düsseldorf. Elinescu and Wladow appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal in Dusseldorf as well.