Friday, 27 October 2017

Negligible Physical Element

The English Bridge Union has lost a further case concerning the classification of Bridge as a sport. The goal had been to receive exemption from VAT charges (the UK's Goods and Services Tax), as well as access to sports funding. The European Court of Justice has rejected the claim, stating that a sport must involve "a not negligible physical element".
I'm not sure if this is the first time a court has actually defined sport in these terms, but it seems to me to be a fairly clear cut definition. This of course would apply to arguments concerning the status of chess as a sport (at least in Europe), but oddly enough allows Ballroom Dancing (another contentious case) to become one.

2 comments:

What-it-said said...

"I'm not sure if this is the first time a court has actually defined sport in these terms, but it seems to me to be a fairly clear cut definition. "

18 For want of any definition at all in Directive 2006/112 of the concept of ‘sport’, the meaning and scope of that term must, as the Court has consistently held, be determined by considering its usual meaning in everyday language, while also taking into account the context in which it is used and the purposes of the rules of which it is part (see, to that effect, judgments of 3 September 2014, Deckmyn and Vrijheidsfonds, C‑201/13, EU:C:2014:2132, paragraph 19 and the case-law cited, and of 26 May 2016, Envirotec Denmark, C‑550/14, EU:C:2016:354, paragraph 27).

19 With regard, first of all, to the meaning of the term ‘sport’ in everyday language, it is typically used, as the Advocate General observed in point 23 of his Opinion, to refer to an activity of a physical nature or, in other words, an activity characterised by a not negligible physical element.

The ECJ also notes that bridge could alternatively be allowed a "cultural services" VAT exemption.

Anonymous said...



A meeting of leading stakeholders from the Olympic Movement has concluded that competitive e-sports "could be considered as a sporting activity".

This is because the "players involved play with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations will now enter a "dialogue" with the gaming industry and players to explore the area further.