Status of the Institute for Bridge Arbitration

Status of the Institute for Bridge Arbitration

I am very pleased to be able to report to Bridge Winners and the bridge community in general that the Institute for Bridge Arbitration (“IBA”) is up and running and soon will be able to provide expert bridge arbitrators to resolve cheating allegations and similar disputes.  The IBA is officially a 501(c)3 corporation.  I am its president, and its Board of Directors consists of AJ Stephani (Chair), Jan Martel, Mitch Dunitz, Phillippe Cronier and me, with Howard Engle (formerly of Arthur Anderson and Deloitte) as its CFO.

We have prepared a set of Supplemental Rules Governing Bridge Arbitrations that have been accepted by the American Arbitration Association, which, along with its International Centre for Dispute Resolution, will administer bridge arbitrations.  The ACBL and USBF have signed on to this process and will use IBA Rules and arbitrators for any bridge arbitrations over cheating or similar allegations.

The real strength of the IBA is the outstanding group of bridge players who have volunteered to be trained as arbitrators and who have agreed to serve in that capacity without compensation (but with out-of-pocket expenses for any arbitration hearings reimbursed).  They include many world class players both from North America and abroad.  I don’t want to offend anyone by not mentioning them, but the following is a representative subset of the world class players:  Simon Cope, Per-Ola Cullin, Ida Gronkvist, Ralph Katz, Bobby Levin, Jill Levin, Ricco van Prooijen, Chris Willenken, Sheri Winestock,.  Other arbitrator volunteers have multiple national titles.  And there is a third category of arbitrator candidate:  highly experienced but slightly less accomplished bridge players with a legal or arbitration background who can do the hard work of chairing the arbitration panels.

Training materials have been prepared and are in the process of being finalized.  The first training sessions for the arbitrator candidates will likely begin next month, probably remotely via Zoom or similar platform so that location is not a barrier to being trained.  We estimate a two-hour session to be trained as a “Wing” arbitrator, and an additional two hours for any arbitrator candidates who want to be trained as a “Chair.”  This training has never been done before, so the durations are just educated guesses.  But the training sessions will be recorded so that any candidates who could not participate in the initial sessions can do so subsequently.

It is not too late to volunteer for arbitrator training.  I particularly encourage top players, particularly from other countries, and strong players with experience in arbitration to apply.  Anyone interested can contact me at MCFriedlander@Venable.com.