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The English Bridge Union v HMRC

In The English Bridge Union v HMRC (Case C-90/16) (26 October 2017) the CJEU found that duplicate bridge is not a sport.

The English Bridge Union (EBU) is a non-profit organisation responsible for regulating and developing duplicate bridge in England. In this form of the card game each partnership successively plays the same deal as their counterparts at other tables and scoring is based on relative performance.

The EBU charges an entry fee for participation in competitions it organises and the issue was whether this fee should be exempt under the Principal VAT Directive Art 132(1)(m). This turned on whether duplicate bridge is a ‘mind sport’.

The CJEU observed that in the absence of a definition of ‘sport’ in the directive its usual meaning in everyday language must be considered while also taking into account the context in which it is used and the purposes of...

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