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ACBL Tech File
Conduct Procedures for Tourney Directors


This document is provided courtesy of the
American Contract Bridge League

2990 Airways Blvd. S Memphis TN 381163847
S Fax 9013987754

     NOTE: to view the latest revision of the handbook,
download the latest version of ACBLScore

                                                       CONAPP.033 (PAGE 1) 




     TDs must provide a copy of the ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations,

     Handbook for Disciplinary Committees, Handbook for Bridge Appeals

     Committees and the list of sanctions to the committee.

                                         (Board of Directors - July, 1997)  



     It is standard procedure for an assistant to review the situation with

     the DIC before ejecting a player from the game.  When an assistant

     thinks a player's conduct is such that it may warrant suspension for

     the balance of the session, he should require the offender to leave

     the table and accompany him to see the Director in Charge.


     Directors are instructed to take rapid and firm corrective measures

     whenever a player has violated ACBL Proprieties.



     The Appeals and Charges Committee of the ACBL Board of Directors has

     ruled that a person who commits an illegal act at a bridge tournament

     has also violated the ACBL disciplinary Code.  They may be brought up

     on charges of conduct unbecoming an ACBL member.  (7 October 1988)



     Private conversations (which do not include accusations of third party

     unethical conduct) are not within the ACBL's jurisdiction even if they

     take place at a tournament site.  (Board of Directors - Nov. 1986)



     DIC's at Sectional and Regional tournaments must have a report on any

     disciplinary action taken by a committee at their tournament in the

     mail to the office the day after the committee action.


     When a C&E committee imposes discipline exceeding the tournament, a

     report must either be sent in a separate, letter-style envelope (NOT

     WITH THE TOURNAMENT REPORT) attention Chief Tournament Director or

     faxed (901-398-7754) to the CTD.


     According to our legal counsel, the office cannot take action without

     written (or faxed) notification of the committee's findings.

                                          (Office Policy - November, 1993) 



     If, for one reason or another, it is impossible to convene a Conduct

     Committee soon after an incident occurs, the DIC or the Judiciary

     Chairman should ask each witness to submit a written statement.  When

     a hearing is not held immediately, some witnesses may tend to forget

     what they actually observed.  They are also likely to discuss the

     incident with others which may distort their memory.  In addition, if

     the witness is unable to attend some future hearing, the deposition

     can be submitted to the Conduct Committee as testimony.

                                         (Directions - January/April 1993) 



                                                       CONAPP.033 (PAGE 2) 




     If a director appears at a hearing as a witness, that shall be his/her

     only role.  (Board of Directors - Mar, 1994)



     TDs should not be present during committee deliberations.  If asked to

     return TDs should make an effort to have a member of each side return.

                                          (Board of Directors - Mar, 1994) 


     Directors should use the following general approach:

     1. The Director will present the facts, decision, and reason for the


     2. Prior to deliberations, the Director will present the applicable

        Laws and options of the committee under the Law.

     3. Only committee members will be present during the deliberations.

        Should the committee require further information regarding the

        facts or the Law, the Director AND other parties involved should

        be present.

     4. Once the committee has come to a decision, the Director must note

        whether the committee has decided contrary to Law or Regulation.

        If so, the Director should tell them and explain the reasoning.

        The committee should be given the opportunity to modify their

        decision or convince the Director of his/her error on the point

        of law.  The Director should reject any decision which is

        contrary to Law or Regulation.

                                      (Office Clarification - April, 1994) 


     The handling of an appeal is one of the DIC's (or his designee's) most

     important duties.  It is complicated by the fact that, in many cases,

     one or more of the principles is extremely upset.  For this reason it

     is mandatory for the director reviewing the case to keep his cool.  If

     possible, he should do the reviewing with the players in a quiet

     place.  It is preferable that the reviewer be a director other than

     the one who gave the original ruling.


     It is every player's right to have any ruling made by a director

     reviewed by a committee.  In a matter of bridge judgement the

     committee's decision is final -- it overrides the director's, should

     they be different.  There is no stigma attached to a director's bridge

     judgement being overturned by a committee -- in fact, the director's

     being right or wrong is about the least important facet of a committee



     Of far greater importance is the appellant's feeling after the appeal.

     Even the most obtuse appellant will usually see the light after his

     case has been reviewed by several directors and three of his peers in

     a committee.  The director is in a no-lose position if he has promptly

     furnished a player with a committee.  If the player feels he had to

     fight tooth and nail to get a committee, the director is in a no-win

     position.  If the player "wins" the appeal he will have a "gotcha"

     attitude toward the director.  If he "loses" he may well leave

     (possibly never to return) with feelings of resentment and unfair




                                                       CONAPP.033 (PAGE 3) 



     Having a prospective appellant fill out the appeal form (especially

     the section devoted to why the player thinks the director's ruling

     should be changed) as soon as he states he wishes to appeal has

     beneficial value.  It gives you something, in writing, to review and a

     starting position.


     Next, it does not give the appellant a feeling of resistance -- he

     does not have to fight for what he knows to be his right.  Too much

     resistance on the part of the director will have the appellant

     fighting more for his right to a hearing than for his case.  It may

     well develop into a situation where the appellant feels he is an

     adversary of the director -- a situation we certainly do not want.


     A director should spend about ten minutes in the screening process --

     five minutes to gather the facts and assure the proper ruling was made

     and, if it seems the initial ruling was correct, five minutes to try

     to convince the appellant.  Actually, unless the case is very

     complicated, two minutes should be enough to establish whether or not

     you are going to change the person's mind without getting him so upset

     that he will have to "win" the appeal or go home a loser.


     If, after a couple of minutes, it becomes obvious the appellant does

     not understand what you are telling him, you might try the following

     device.  Say to the appellant, "You will have your committee, but

     first I would appreciate your going over the case once again with one

     of my senior directors,. . . "  Another director may be able to

     enlighten and pacify the appellant.  (Management Comments - 8/81)



     Players still active in an event should not serve, if possible, on a

     bridge-related committee involving a player in that event.

                                          (Board of Directors - Mar, 1994) 

                                                       CONAPP.033 (PAGE 4) 



     To establish an atmosphere which promotes the enjoyment of bridge as

     both a competitive and social game, the ACBL has adopted a policy of

     courteous behavior.  The ACBL stands for American Contract Bridge

     League and Always Courteous Behavior League.  For tournaments to be

     fun, cooperation from all (players, organizers, officials, staff,

     volunteers) is necessary.  Please report Conduct that is unacceptable

     while keeping in mind that we must be tolerant of other people in

     general and bridge players in particular.  Also, conduct that is

     especially outstanding or refreshing should be reported also.


     COMMENDABLE                         UNACCEPTABLE


     Being a good "host" or "guest"      Badgering, rudeness,

     at the table.                       insinuations, intimidation,

                                         profanity, threats or violence


     Greeting others in a friendly       Negative comments concerning

     manner.                             opponents' or partner's play

                                         or bidding.


     Praising the bidding and/or play    Gloating over good results.

     of an opponent.                     Constant and gratuitous lessons

                                         and analyses at the table.  Loud

                                         and disruptive arguing with a

                                         tournament director.


     Having two clearly completed        Constant and gratuitous

     convention cards readily available  lessons and analyses at the

     to the opponents  (This is a        table

     regulation not a nicety)


     If you experience someone exhibiting discourteous behavior or being

     other than civil, please call a tournament director immediately.  If

     you feel that there was a very serious breech of discipline, in

     addition to the resolution by the tournament director at the table,

     please discuss the problem directly with the Director-in-Charge of the



     Should it become necessary to call a tournament director, you may

     simply state: "This player is interfering with my enjoyment of the



     Courteous behavior creates an atmosphere which tends to encourage

     others to be courteous.  It is contagious.  Starting each round with a

     pleasant greeting facilitates a pleasant bridge experience and


                                   BE NICE!


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