Zia Mahmood’s message to the EBL

Yesterday none of the five matches against Italy have been played, because opponents “forfeited their matches against Italy”(EBL). Officially, Scotland and Wales sent their line ups on time, but players did not show up at the table. Slovenia sent one pair only; Lithuania and Ukraine did not send the line up.

Zia Mahmood sent a statement to the EBL, for it to be published in the official tournament bulletin, but the EBL decided not to print it.

John Carruthers has reported this on BridgeWinners and Neapolitan Club’s team asked Zia for a statement:

Zia’s answer:

“Clearly Yesterday has been a unique reaction in any sport event and must be worthy of publication. Yes, I wanted to include my personal reaction in the bulletin. I am not sure why the EBL were not prepared to publish it as it was just the expression of an honest view of a bridge player on the events unfolding. Players appreciate and respect the legal rulings that have been handed down but are entitled to express their feelings. It seems The bridge world is united in their support for this reaction and are expressing it in the only way open to them “.

And this is the original message Zia sent to EBL:

“As events unfold in the European Bridge championships …a truly amazing phenomenon has taken place … team after team has refused to play against the Italian team. There are times in every sport when a man or woman put honour first. Bridge has reached that point and yesterday the teams from Scotland and Wales have emerged as giants as they led the way with dignity as they refused to take their seats against the Italian team. As other countries have joined in this protest it is clear the bridge world is today  shouting a message to the authorities.

Bridge is a game of honour. While we all are bound to accept the rulings of the judiciary… the greatest heroes are those who live by the dictates of their conscience. For what can we win when we don’t have honour? The people have spoken. And we are proud again”.


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One Reply to “Zia Mahmood’s message to the EBL”

  1. This comment has been mailed by Giovanni Ferro.

    The rule of the law is the cornerstone of any modern society or part of society, such as any
    The rule of the law is what supports the equality of all individuals, secures non arbitrary forms
    of government and prevents for any despotism and totalitarianism, either by single individuals
    or by groups, which pretend to know what is true or not, what is right or not, what is legal or
    not. How often the most tragic and bloody events in the human history originated from
    individuals or groups willing to establish the “real” truth they only presumed to know?
    As any organization, the bridge organization can only survive if the rule of the law is widely
    recognized and strictly enforced. No one has the right to decide what is right and who is guilty,
    unless under the rule of the law.
    WBL (and, therefore, EBL and any NBO) are IOC International Federation under Rule 29 of
    the Olympic Charter. Accordingly, they adhere to the Court of Arbitration of Sports for the
    resolution of all form of dispute relating to the sport of bridge, as recognized by WBF
    Constitution and By-laws.
    The Court for Arbitration of Sports ruled that the appeal filed by Fulvio Fantoni against the
    decision rendered by the Disciplinary Committee of EBL should be upheld. Fulvio Fantoni
    has, therefore, all the rights and the dignity of any other bridge player in the world. The
    presumption of innocence, as established by the European Convention of Human Rights and by
    the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (art. 48 “Everyone who has been charged shall be
    presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”) fully applies for Fulvio Fantoni as
    for any bridge player.
    What happened in these days at the EBL qualifier for the WTC goes much far “a massage to
    the authorities”, as Zia Mahmood declared. It is an attempt to subvert the rule of the law and
    to replace the well calibrated procedures set by the law to judge any people by the arbitrary
    judgement of a small group, who presume to have the right to decide on the truth.
    We hope the EBL is able to restore the rule of the law.

    Giovanni Ferro

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