The above hand was being bid at the end of the evening by a very experienced NS pair and a much weaker and far less experienced EW pair.
E opened 1NT and S bid 2NT. W asked N what this meant and was told "at least 5/5 in the minors". There was then an alleged BIT by W before she passed. N said something along the lines of "shame I didn't have a stopwatch running whilst you were thinking" and then bid 3D. E now bid 3S at which point S lambasted W for her hesitation (more about this) after which I was called.
Everyone started talking at once when I arrived and so I asked who had called me and was told that it was W. I asked everyone to be quiet and I asked W why she'd called me. I then got explanations from everyone round the table as to what had happened with NS being particularly voluble. Once I had established the apparent facts I ruled that they should continue bidding, play the hand and that NS could call me back if they felt that they had been damaged. I also warned N that his behaviour did not meet the requirements of BB at Bridge and that if there was a repetition I would penalise NS.
I returned to the table after the hand had been played to find that the result had been 4SX -2 by W. 300 to NS and a share of the top matchpoints. For the record it is worth pointing out that :-
a) neither W nor E accepted that there had been a BIT
b) W had been intending to bid 2H (xfer to S) before the overcall and had then wondered whether she could do this over 2NT (strongly implying that there must have been BIT)
c) E was of the opinion that there was no reason why she couldn't 'save' into 3S with her hand
None of the above has any relevance to the reason for this post because when I sat down with EW to help them understand why there had been a problem I discovered that the real reason why W had called me originally was that after East's 3S bid S had said to W that her BIT was 'cheating'.
At this point I called S back (the tournament had now finished) and advised that I would be imposing a penalty of 10% of a top (2MPs) which simply drew more venom from S, this time in my direction and also towards the senior Club TD who had had some words with S as a result of her attitude.
I realised some time later, that under 91B I had the power to disqualify the pair from the competition and that the latest document entitled Best Behaviour at Bridge on the EBU website states that "If a player at the table behaves in an unacceptable manner, the director should be called immediately. Annoying behaviour, embarrassing remarks, or any other conduct which might interfere with the enjoyment of the game is specifically prohibited by Law 74A. Law 91A gives the director the authority to assess disciplinary penalties. This can include immediate disciplinary board penalties and may lead to disqualification from the current event. In addition any violation may result in a disciplinary hearing where player(s) future participation in tournaments will be considered."
Had I been aware that this power was available to me I would have ruled that as a DP the pair were disqualified rather than the entirely inappropriate minor penalty which I actually imposed. Everything is easy with hindsight but I'll know better if there is a next time. The offending pair actually won the NS section by 10 MPs after the penalty had been applied.
My question to fellow TDs here is what would they have considered appropriate action in the above circumstances?