The following statement was written by one member of the USBF Board of Directors and adopted by all of them:

Victory Ceremony Actions of US Venice Cup Winners (“VCW”)

It may be the case that the VCW did not intentionally act detrimentally to the USBF. But the act was in fact detrimental to The USBF.

1) The USBF has good reason to believe that the ACBL’s inclination to provide financial assistance to the USBF has substantially diminished as a result of the VCW action at the medal presentation. The ACBL has no contractual obligation to use its good offices to generate or funnel money to the USBF. Any financial assistance provided by the ACBL to the USBF is strictly voluntary and is predicated on the ACBL being satisfied that such support is in the best interest of the game of Contract Bridge and that of the ACBL membership.

2) Certain members of the VCW have in no way acknowledged that the action has created a serious problem for the USBF. They instead have chosen to go on the offensive by extremely aggressive defensive actions, rather than simply acknowledging, “We made a mistake. What can we do to rectify the situation?” In the vast majority of situations a party whose defined role is to represent another party has a fiduciary responsibility to represent the interests of the principal ahead of their own interests. In cases where an agent or other representative acts adversely to the interests of the principal, they may in fact be subject to legal action. Certainly, the principal has no obligation to allow said agents to represent them in the future.

3) Certain members of VCW have complained that the USBF apology to the WBF and the Chinese Contract Bridge Association for the VCW’s conduct was unwarranted. This reflects a complete disregard for the fact that the Chinese government, which does not exactly have a history of sympathetic views toward political dissent, provided the bulk of financial support for both the 2007 World Championship and the 2008 World Bridge Olympiad. Certainly, other sponsors such as Generali Group and Microsoft will not view as a positive development the hijacking of events which they supported financially as forums for political expression. Again, the VCW seem to view the interests of all other parties as entirely subordinate to their own, if they take them into account at all.

4) There have been a large number of e-mails, some pro the VCW, but more con. Again the USBF did not create the present controversy, this was done by the VCW entirely of their own volition and on their own responsibility.

5) The USBF is the body responsible for selecting the players and captains who will represent it. This representation is a privilege granted to those who in the judgment of the USBF will best represent it. When a player or captain fails to adhere to standards of behavior acceptable to the USBF, it is not at all clear that the USBF should allow that individual to represent it in the future. It is not the agent who determines acceptable standards of behavior, it is the principal.

6) No principal can provide an agent with a laundry list enumerating every conceivable proscribed activity; the agent is presumed to be guided by common sense. When an agent damages a principal by ill judged actions, intentionally or negligently, adverse consequences for the agent should come as no surprise.

7) This situation is not about free speech; it is about determining whether the USBF has a responsibility to its membership to impose sanctions on those who have acted contrary to the best interests of the organization and its members.

8) The USBF was formed to manage the process of selecting teams, players and pairs to represent the United States in World Bridge Federation and/or Olympic Games Competition. The mission was and is to select those individuals most qualified to be representatives. In order to be eligible for selection, a player must meet the eligibility requirements established by the USBF. Additionally, there is always the possibility that a governing body of an international competition might refuse to allow an individual to participate in a competition conducted under its auspices. There is a history of players not receiving the requisite approvals to participate in international competition, ranging from cheating to lack of expertise to deportment problems, among others.  

9) The USBF is quite cognizant of the fact that there are professional arrangements where a player or players are paid to play in events where the ultimate goal is to qualify to represent the United States in international competition. The fact that a player is dependent upon professional fees to earn a living is of no concern to the USBF, and any such arrangements are entirely incidental to any USBF event, outside the control, responsibility or concern of the USBF. The USBF has no obligation to coddle, foster, or protect any person’s ability to earn professional fees.