Club Management Focus: Spring 2013

Disciplinary Problems

by Jeremy Dhondy

Most clubs hope to have as few of these as possible but when they do occur and the club feels it has to discipline a member in order to keep a pleasant game for others it is vital to do things the correct way. If not bad feeling can result, factions can develop and members may leave; all of which are to be avoided if at all possible.
A little thought beforehand can save a lot of heartache later.

  • Many problems get resolved by tournament directors with no need for anything further. This may involve anything from a quiet word to a disciplinary penalty.
  • Does your tournament director have a clear idea of what is expected (for example does your club subscribe to the Best Behaviour @ Bridge Code) and does he have the committee's support to maintain behavioural standards and the enjoyment of all players?
  • If things need to go further than the session itself perhaps because the behaviour is frequent or serious then is your club clear on what happens and in what order?
  • Has your club got a constitution with a proper set of disciplinary rules? If not then this is a priority. The chances are they will need to be approved by your club's AGM so it can be a while before they take effect. The club committee may well not be experts on this nor have the inclination to create a set of regulations so the EBU have produced a model club constitution available at here
  • Have you published your constitution and disciplinary rules on your website? Your members are entitled to see them and this is the easiest way of making this happen.
  • If there is a disciplinary case and it cannot be resolved at the club what happens next? Many clubs use their county to help with appeals. If you want to do so does your county know and do they agree?
  • For cases that are hard to resolve the EBU does offer a mediation service. Be aware that if you seek to follow this route both sides must agree to be bound by the outcome and the club will need to provide the venue and pay the travel expenses of the members of the panel. Details are available just here