with the team otherwise paying their own way. In
Open, Women's and Junior events, the EBU pays for
the entry fees, travel, accommodation and subsis tence
for the team. We're careful to keep these costs
low. Travel is always economy class (in contrast to
many of our rivals, who provide their teams with
business-class flights). The teams stay in reasonably
priced hotel accommodation, even if that means
being some distance from the venue. Juniors
generally stay in shared rooms or even dormitories;
adults usually get a room each. The allowance for
meals is ade quate rather than lavish. And nobody
gets paid for their time.
In fact, for most of our players there is still a cost
to participation. Some of them have jobs and are
taking time off work, and some are bridge profes sionals.
In either case the time they spend playing
for England is time when they are not earning a
living. Many of the players also spend some of their
own money one way or another, for example on
pre-event practice or on arriving at the event a few
days early so as to become more acclimatised.
This is, of course, fine with them. They are proud
to be representing their country, and grateful to the
EBU members for funding the teams.
The Selection Committee is also grateful, because
it means that we can always select what we consider
August 2015 English Bridge
to be the best team. The cost of playing in a World
or European Championship is a significant amount
of money for most of our players. Without subsidy
from EBU funds, some of our top players would be
unable to play, or only able to play occasionally.
Playing for England would be limited to those who
could afford it. By paying the team's expenses, the
EBU ensures that the team is chosen solely on merit.
The other main cost is in training juniors. We
have squads for each of the age-bands, managed by
three very hard-working squad leaders. Each squad
has frequent training sessions, with the training
provided by the squad leaders and by top players
who donate their time. We also send junior teams to
overseas invitation events to gain experience of
Again, we keep the costs down as far as possible,
but because of the number of junior players
involved and the intensity of the training, the costs
are significant. Without EBU funding, the squad
system simply couldn't exist.
This is a vital part of our preparation of juniors
for international events, and a long term investment
for our Open and Women's teams. It's also good for
bridge in England generally for young players to be
helped to improve their game and encouraged to
succeed at the highest levels. r
Members of the Junior Squad take a break from bridge at a Stratford-upon-Avon playground.