Bridge not a sport for VAT purposes says EU court

The EBU has learned that the European Court of Justice has today overturned a recommendation from its Advocate General, and has ruled that bridge should not be considered a sport for VAT purposes.

This decision comes as both a surprise, and a disappointment, as we had welcomed the earlier recommendation made by Advocate General that bridge should considered a sport for this purpose. A positive ruling by the court would have both made participation in bridge competitions cheaper, and would have provided a rebate to the EBU which it could invest in bringing bridge – and the enjoyment and health benefits which participation offers – to a wider audience.

The Court did, however, leave open the opportunity for individual states to exempt bridge from VAT by recognising it as a ‘cultural service’. We are pleased by the court’s suggestion, and welcome the possibility that bridge activities may yet be exempted from VAT, however we have not yet considered the implications of the suggestion.

We would like to give our thanks to David Ewart and our legal team for their work throughout these legal proceedings.