The Zimmermann’s plan for Monaco is well known from last December: Helness, Helgemo, Fantoni and Nunes have taken up residence in Principality of Monaco to play for Monaco national team within two years. Tor Helness depicted the outlines of this project in an interview published on Bridge I Norge. “The goal is clear: the Bermuda Bowl” He said.
Later in January 2011, Jean-Charles Allavena, the President of the Monegasque Bridge Federation, officially announced the agreement:
“It is with great pleasure and pride that the FMB announces the signing of a long-term partnership with Mr. Pierre Zimmermann. Within this agreement, a top-level team, Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes (numbers 1 and 2 in the world-ranking at the moment), Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness, Pierre Zimmermann and Franck Multon, will represent the FMB at the next European and World Championships“.
But a note of the communique stated: “The ad hoc Committees of the European and World Federations will have to confirm their approval for the representation of Monaco by the Zimmermann team“.
In the latest meeting of the EBU (English Bridge Union) Selection Committee held in London on 9th march 2001, The Ebu Chairman Sally Bugden reported that ” the Board had been made aware of a disagreement between the WBF and the EBL regarding a European team who wished to change its country of allegiance to compete in Europe as members of Monaco”.
In the Minutes of EBU Selection Committee we can also read: “ Max Bavin pointed out that the rules on eligibility were clear, and this should not be permitted. Paul Hackett concurred, and said that it would not be in England’s interest to support a relaxation of the current regulations.“
And now in the interview by Patrick Jourdain published yesterday on the Official Buletin of European Open in Poznan, Pierre Zimmermann himself explaines the reasons that might hinder his plan:
“I believe all six of us have fulfilled the conditions of residence necessary to represent Monaco in the 2012 WBF World Championships. We all have Monaco citizen cards beginning with residence in December 2010. There is a slight difference in wording between the EBL and WBF regulations on residence which means there is a question mark over our participation in the 2012 EBL event. Obviously we would prefer two years before 2012 to mean 2010, rather than 24 months before June 2012. The oddity is this. The 2012 Europeans are the qualifying event for the 2013 Bermuda Bowl. Can it make sense that we would be eligible for the 2012 WBF event as Monaco but not eligible for the 2013 event?”.
The disagreement concerns the condition of two years of residence, which is satisfied according to the rules of WBF (2 years) but not according to the rules of EBL (24 months).
If the Zimmermann team is not allowed to take part in 2012 European Championships (event under the auspices of EBL) it will not be able to qualify for the 2013 Bermuda Bowl (event that follows the WBF rules ).
What will happen? Time -and Neapolitan Club- will say.
Sources: 2011 Poznan Bulletin issue No 6