Open Letter from BFI PresidentApril 28, 2015
Dear Bridge friends and Bridge-loving community,
As a bridge player from India, I wanted to achieve some laurels on foreign soil with a motivation to generate more interest in our country. I learned that there are no restrictions in participation with a team or a partner in many tournaments overseas and have actively played in many events over the years. Usually, on registration, a player is given a seeding with reference to their own declaration of ability (or they may have some ways to find – this is unclear). Even when I felt that there had been some injustice with regards to the seeding or an appeal or on other issues such as participation, representation of nation etc I never fought to prove my legal standing or knowledge knowing fully well that I was a visitor at the tournament. I knew that I had to obey the laws and limit myself as explained in these laws. I never tried to put up a legal battle against the people putting in effort to give their best on an honorary basis (of course, the ACBL has some paid officials as well)
With the above in mind I decided that it would be a reciprocal understanding to allow foreigners to participate in all major Indian championships as soon as I took over as the BFI President. Since the numbers of such participants have been less, I clarified orally about the playing conditions when questioned and in some cases in writing as well – a sample is attached for reference.
Now, if a foreign citizen who happens to be born and educated in India and now has an OCI card keeps on trying through the courts to prove his eligibility to represent India for the past 4/5 years who am I to stop him? I have come to understand that he is still trying at various courts and wish him luck. If the court is going to rule against the Government who am I to stop them? Even if he succeeds in the courts, if the Government of India (Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs) wants us to join them in fighting the case as 1st respondent, should we go along with the Govt. or not? Especially given that BFI and Bridge have been accorded ‘Priority’ status and revived our relationship with the ministry after overcoming numerous hurdles.
I am not interested in entering into any debate as there are a number of different organizational and administrative issues to be addressed in the run-up to the World Championships 2015. It hurts me deeply to share with you that there is someone who was willing to go to the extent of writing to the WBF President and recommending that they cancel the 2015 event in India because of the ongoing legal issues. The WBF responded reposing their faith in the organizing team. While thanking the WBF for their trust and understanding, we need to continue to put in all necessary efforts to ensure that the tournament is no less than any held elsewhere in the world.
I know that the entire Indian Bridge community is happy and eagerly looking forward to a great World Championship. Let us not get disturbed and dilute our focus on the bigger picture with issues like this which I am sure will be handled properly. I assure the Indian Bridge community that the game is in very safe and selfless hands with no darker side. We have been and will continue working for a brighter future for the game with a positive attitude that the world will appreciate.
I am happy to receive comments or criticism and try to learn and make the best use out of them. As I am unable to respond to every letter/mail or phone (which I would love to) I request all the players, friends and members to stay calm, cool and remain undivided which helps bring pride and glory to our Nation.
(Please feel free to share your views as always).
A Player and servant to the cause of Bridge.
It is very painful to learn about the unwelcome developments. Indian team whoever it may be will have less time to prepare for the Championship in right earnest. All the genuine Bridge lover will be beside you.Rest assured!
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