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Bridge

Volume 596: debated on Thursday 4 June 2015

1. What assessment he has made of the implications for his Department’s policies of the designation of bridge as a mind sport. (900095)

My hon. Friend will know that bridge is not currently designated as a sport. The High Court will consider a judicial review on the definition of sport from the English Bridge Union in September, to which the Government will respond accordingly.

I welcome my hon. Friend to her post. Her prowess on the football field is well known, but I wish to address the issue of mind sports. At the moment, Sport England refuses to fund bridge, chess, go and other mind sports. Her predecessor was investigating this, but will she update us on what progress has been made to ensure that Sport England does recognise mind sports for their ability to train the mind?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his kind words. As he rightly said, Sport England does not currently recognise the term “mind sports” and does not provide funding to games such as bridge and chess. As I mentioned, the High Court is considering a judicial review of the definition of “sport” from the English Bridge Union. I recognise that many of these games are enjoyed by many people and that the mental agility required in this activity can help with conditions, bringing many health or wellbeing benefits. I therefore suggest that if he would like to seek funding support for these games, he does so through the Department for Education or the Department of Health.