What to do when a long standing, well liked member leaves the game

Last Sunday at a small 4 table game at our club, one player walked out after playing 11 of the 24 boards. She left because she was cross with her partner.
The director was playing, so there was no-one to take her place.
A few senior club members have decided that we need to have in place agreed sanctions for players who depart in the middle of a game (unless due to ill health or other emergency). I personally would like to suspend them from the club for say 4 weeks. I would want the director to follow them when they walk out, to remind them of this sanction, and suggest that they should sit quietly for the rest of the current round, to consider their position. I would award 60/40 to their opps for any unplayed boards. If they still want to leave then they will be suspended.
Is this a reasonable course of action? What do other clubs do?

Comments

  • I don't think this is the correct forum to deal with this in public. what happened should be dealt with by the club on their current policies.

    CMOT_Dibbler

  • The EBU regards abandoning a session as a disciplinary offence that is subject to sanction (beyond the event).

    At a club, the TD should refer the occurrence to the club committee and this can trigger the club disciplinary process, which will have whatever powers the club give it. Suspension from club events is normally a sanction available to the disciplinary process/committee/hearing. Hopefully the club disciplinary process is defined in the club constitution.

    I agree that the TD should explain the possible sanction to the "runner", if the TD can catch up with them. If the player refuses to play the current round but is prepared to play later rounds, then they should probably get a score penalty (e.g. sufficient to reduce 60/40 to 60/0) for the boards they refuse to play, and this should be reported to the committee.

  • @CMOT_Dibbler said:
    I don't think this is the correct forum to deal with this in public. what happened should be dealt with by the club on their current policies.

    CMOT_Dibbler

    We are about to formulate the club's policies and I was looking for suggestions.

  • edited November 2018

    The EBU has a model constitution for clubs which includes a schedule of disciplinary procedures. Go to https://ebu.co.uk/clubs and select Model Club Constitution from the menu on the right hand side.

    Whilst this forum was primarily intended for TD questions arising from the Laws of bridge, I don't entirely agree with CMOT_Dibbler that it's an inappropriate question to put here. If people think they can help (in terms of what the procedures should be - I agree that discussion of the appropriate disciplinary sanction is probably not best), why not?

    It is of course better to have procedures in place so that you don't have to invent them on the hoof when an incident arises, but if there aren't any procedures currently in place, then the Committee will have to devise something. At least something will then be in place if there is another incident.

  • I think that there should be 2 phases to this sort of thing... a fact find and on the back of that, potentially a disciplinary hearing.

    Fact find would ask questions along the line of why she was angry, why she felt that walking out was appropriate etc... not limited to the walker either, but witnesses at the club.

    If it was 'just' bridge related such disagreements over bids/play then a disciplinary hearing would be called for.

    If it was something external, such as racist comments from partner then possibly a disciplinary hearing for partner.

    Hearing should not contain the same people that contubcted the investigation. Should not pre-decide the out come etc.

    I think that there should be a standard type of punishment such as barred from the club for 4 weeks along with a written appology. With extenuating cicumstances this might be reduced and with aggravating circumstances it might be increased.

    There should also be an appeals process, completed by members not involved in the original hearing.

    For this reason it is best to have a mixture of members, committee members and the executive involved at each stage.
  • I am sorry to hear about this occurrence which can pose difficult issues for the club committee . You say the person involved is well liked and I assume the club would wish to keep her as a member. Without knowing the club it is difficult to comment however it sounds as if there may be an overall behaviour issue that the committee needs to look at .

    I would suggest the club takes a stepped approach- initially by the chair discussing the issue with the player (and possibly her partner ) first before taking more severe steps - such as letters or suspension on exclusion . At the same time it might be appropriate to bring to all members attention the EBU best behaviour code by announcing it before play - you will probably want to highlight particular points - there may be behaviour patterns in the club that permit of "don't frown" upon unacceptable behaviour

    If this has been a re-occurring issue with the player you could look at a letter from the chair on the lines that the committee has discussed the incidents ( and quote them) asking the person to change their behaviour pattern or else the committee would need to look at alternative disciplinary procedures. It is surprising how effective a well composed letter can be. Players do sit up and take notice - but it is still very difficult to change inherent patterns of behaviour,

    At our club we have found a softer approach seems to change players attitude - in this case it sounds as if it was not just the player but action by her partner that caused the problem. Also our constitution has a written out stepped approach to disciplinary procedures - which we seem to avoid using by tackling behaviour problems early on rather than letting them build up . Also at our club ensuring good behaviour is our number one priority as we are aware that a clubs reputation can be tainted for a long time due to poor behaviour. I hope this helps.

  • @rosss said:

    Thank you.
    The player is a long standing member who normally behaves well and I did not see any aggravation from her partner. I played the 1st 4 boards against the pair, and the offender was annoyed by a mistake by her partner. I suppose it escalated from there, after further mistakes. I don't think she upset the opponents.
    The president has spoken to the offender & she has apologised profusely to me, and I think to the other people who were there. We won't apply sanctions retrospectively this time, but want them in place before it happens again.
    It has happened before, but not to the point of spoiling the game. Once right at the start & once at the start of the last round!
    I will look at the EBU recommendations.

  • Full disclosure: I walked out of a duplicate once. Sent in a very sincere apology the next day and was ultimately let off with a warning as a result, and also because I was a long-standing member with a good reputation.

    I also once found myself playing as a stand-in at a national congress when someone's partner walked out on him!

    I still think such incidents are quite rare though and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. All clubs should have some catchall rule about behaviour, and that should be good enough. I would also hope that for a first offence a warning should generally be sufficient. But then I would say that, wouldn't I!

  • The trouble with this sort of thing is that a well liked person does it and 'gets away with it'. A less liked person does it and is banned for some period of time.

    Fair play maybe, but what if the person that is 'punished' also happens to belong to a protected group (ie. Sex, race, sexual orientation etc). Where there is no policy/process, the management committee can be leaving themselves open to claims of discrimination...

  • @Martin said:
    The trouble with this sort of thing is that a well liked person does it and 'gets away with it'. A less liked person does it and is banned for some period of time.

    Fair play maybe, but what if the person that is 'punished' also happens to belong to a protected group (ie. Sex, race, sexual orientation etc). Where there is no policy/process, the management committee can be leaving themselves open to claims of discrimination...

    Point taken, although there may be some positive correlation between "well-liked" and "of previous unblemished record in terms of behaviour" on the one hand and less positive things on the other. There is usually some reason when people are not well-liked, even if it is not always a very good one, and it could be relevant.

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