ACBL’s Disciplinary Process
Robert Hartman, CEO

Growing and sustaining the game of bridge — the first and most important component of the ACBL’s mission statement — depends on the purity of the game. Cheating will not be tolerated in ACBL-sanctioned events. This includes all levels of play, from club games to NABC events.

While we are by no means deaf to the voices on bridge blogs, we have a well-defined process in place for handling suspect ethical activity.

That process usually starts at the player level with an email or recorder form. Allegations of sufficient quality or player memos in sufficient quantity trigger investigations, either at the local level or the national level. At the local level, there is a network of volunteers that help administer ACBL regulations with the support of staff at Headquarters.

For NABC events, we conduct our own evidence gathering, including reviewing videotaped play. We are grateful for the expertise that world-class players bring to these investigations. Their willingness to volunteer long days of their time demonstrates how strongly they are committed to fairness.

There are, in fact, many dedicated volunteers whose participation is critical to a well-functioning ethical oversight system, including unit and district recorders and members of ACBL committees like Ethical Oversight and the Disciplinary Committee. It is only by working as one that we will stamp out cheating.

The ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations (CDR) requires that privacy must be maintained until an investigation is complete and a hearing is held. At such hearings, evidence is presented, witnesses are called on, and the suspected player(s) have an opportunity to refute the allegations against them while presenting their own evidence. Because people’s reputations and livelihoods are on the line, I cannot emphasize enough how seriously we must take our responsibility to hold a fair evidentiary trial free of speculation and innuendo.

An effective disciplinary system is dependent upon the player community to help police the game through player memos or reports to the appropriate recorder. Recorders are instructed to keep player memos as confidential as possible to protect the identity of the reporter. Everyone’s assistance is needed to make the game clean and fun for everyone.

Here is a link to the ACBL’s CDR as well as details about the unit, district and national recorder process: https://staging.acbl.org///tournaments_page/ethics-and-discipline/acbl-code-of-disciplinary-regulations-2/

Should you have questions about this process, I invite you to contact the ACBL National Recorder Sam Whitten at recorder@staging.acbl.org.