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YOU AND THE EBU
Since June 2007 we have received over 1000 e-mails and letters prompted by our extensive consultation on the
future of the EBU and thus duplicate bridge in England. It became obvious to us that many of the duplicate
bridge players in England are not aware of what we do and how we interact with them – the responsibility for
that rests firmly on our shoulders. We want to share our private responses to their questions with all our
members and we take this opportunity to put the EBU in context and explain its purpose. Apologies to readers
of Barry’s Blogs who may recognise some of the content here!
Why and when was the EBU formed? appropriate to the number of members it Nothing. We are all volunteers. There are no
Various counties and groups of counties has, which translates into votes – not honoraria for any of the officers of the
set up the English Bridge Union in 1936 to financial income. Any financial surplus made Board. This ceased at the end of the
look after duplicate and other compe- by the organisation is retained within the financial year 2005-2006. Each member of
tition contract bridge in England, the business for investment into the develop- the Board also has the legal responsibilities
Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. At ment of bridge in England. and liabilities attached to being a company
the end of 1946, the EBU finally achieved director.
complete control of Duplicate Bridge in What do the three standing committees do?
England. The governing body was its It is the job of all three standing committees Why don’t I have a vote?
Council, made up of representatives from to make recommendations to the Board You do! But it is at county level. Our model
the counties, the number of votes pro- addressing the policy, strategy and smooth is based on the parliamentary model that
portional to the number of members in running of the activities for which they operates in the UK. You have a vote to elect
each county. A different body, the English have responsibility including the costs the management committee of your county
Bridge Union Limited, was formed in involved. and these nominees become your represen-
1940; the Board of this company was also tatives at national level. The county will
the Executive Committee of the English The Tournament Committee is respon- appoint Shareholders from among its
Bridge Union. The two were merged into sible for all national competitions and committee to vote on your behalf. You can
one limited company in 2005. congresses. make representations to the county to
From the beginning the EBU, together The Laws and Ethics Committee is ensure that your Shareholders put forward
with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish responsible for regulation which includes the consensus view of the county member-
Unions, was part of the British Bridge England’s own playing rules as set down ship at the EBU Shareholders meetings.
League which was the national bridge in the Orange Book and also the imple-
organisation for Great Britain. In 2000 the mentation of the Laws of Duplicate Why does duplicate bridge in England need
countries split up and each became their Bridge as set down by the World Bridge the EBU?
own National Bridge Organisation, and the Federation of which the EBU is a Most games or sports have a governing
British Bridge League was dissolved. member. body. The EBU is such an organisation and
The Selection Committee is responsible is responsible, through its constitution, for
So how do you manage yourselves? for choosing players to represent England the development and the infrastructure of
The EBU has a constitution and bye-laws in open, women, seniors and youth inter- duplicate bridge in England. This means that
which provide the framework for its gover- national competitions. we look after education, including training
nance. These are lengthy documents that teachers and via them students, ensuring
can be accessed on our website. What about everyday management? that tournament directors are trained and
In 2005 the constitution and bye-laws were There is a paid team of staff at EBU head- available to run club sessions and competi-
amended and the Council members became quarters in Aylesbury, who work out of an tions, and we are also responsible for
the Shareholders. These Shareholders repre- office that the EBU purchased when property ensuring that the framework of regulation
sent their respective counties – thirty-nine in prices were relatively low, more than twenty for playing the game is followed including
total – just as the Council members did. They years ago. Many of the staff are bridge the good behaviour of everybody involved.
vote in a Board of Directors and then a players who love working in the bridge
Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer environment. Will you be changing the playing regula-
every year to manage the EBU. The Board tions again in the near future?
reports to the Shareholders three times a How is the EBU funded? The current Board is committed to the
year. The Shareholders also vote in members Through membership subscriptions, Master simplification of regulation, and will avoid
of three sub-committees on a rolling year Point fees, tournament entry fees, training unnecessary changes that may complicate
basis, i.e. each members is voted in for a course fees, book and equipment sales, matters for our members as has occurred in
three-year period but not all members are advertising sales for English Bridge and some the past. We want all our members to enjoy
voted in at the same time. You can read the sponsorship. Our income and expenditure the game.
minutes of the Board and Shareholders accounts can be accessed on our website; go We recognise the need for modernisation
meetings on our website. to www.ebu.co.uk and click on Financial and reform across many of our operations
Statements (31/3/07) in the Hot Links and we are currently investigating separating
Do the Shareholders receive any financial panel on the right-hand side. the conduct aspects from the technical
benefit? aspects of the Laws and Ethics committee.
No. They are called ‘shareholders’ because How much are the Board of Directors and
their county is allocated a number of ‘shares’ the other committee members paid? Continued on next page
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