Club Management Focus: Autumn 2017

Disappointment at the EU courts

As you may know, at the end of October the European Court of Justice overturned a recommendation from its Advocate General, and ruled that bridge should not be considered a sport for VAT purposes.

This decision came as both a surprise, and a disappointment, to us as we had welcomed the earlier recommendation made by the Advocate General. A positive ruling by the court would have both made participation in our competitions cheaper, and would have provided a rebate which we could have invested 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. We have had preliminary meetings with our legal experts about this suggestion, however we are not yet in position to make any decision on whether this may be pursued. Even if it were, it is unlikely to be in the near future.

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