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Lauria and the Castle of Gormenghast

The bridge team captained by Ezio Fornaciari, vice president of the Italian Bridge Federation FIGB, and member of the Italian Championship Committee,  whose star player is the redoubtable Lorenzo Lauria, who are the current holders of the Italian Mixed Team Championships, having  won the event in 2018, has run into a spot of bother with the Italian bridge authorities in the sort of dispute that has made Italian bureaucracy famous the world over.

It all began last year when Mr Fornaciari along with three others withdrew from the team several months before the 2018 final, leaving just four players to fight it out.  No formal document was released as to why the captain withdrew, consequently, the title was awarded to all eight members of the team.

The winning team had every expectation to reenter the 2019 championship at the final stages of the event, this is normal for the holders of the trophy.  We now enter the world of Gormenghast, according to the specific regulations of the Italian Mixed Team’s Cup if five of the original eight players who participated in the previous year play in this years team they would automatically be allowed to enter into the final stages of this year’s event.  Since this is not quite the case, and there was no formal document from Mr Fornaciari, they have been denied the possibility to play in the latter stages.

The team members, now down to Lorenzo Lauria, Cristiana Morgantini, Lauria’s wife, Monica Buratti and Carlo Mariani, appealed to the Italian Sports Federation.  The appeal was rejected, rules are rules and must be followed to the letter of the law.  But the Captain could reenter with an entirely new line up.

Lauria who has claimed that he has a gentleman’s agreement with Mr Fornaciari decided not to appeal against the judgement passed down by the Italian Sports Federation.  They have sent Mr Fornaciari a letter asking for compromise on both sides so that bridge fans in Italy and around the world can see the best players fighting it out for the mixed team championships.  Surely this is what the bridge authorities want to achieve.  At the time of publication, there has been no response from Mr Fornaciari.

John Wilmott

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