What’s the deal with the NABF?

The North American Bridge Federation is the newest of the World Bridge Federation’s Zonal Authorities and comprises the Federacion Mexicana de Bridge, the USBF and the Canadian Bridge Federation.

Players from North America have a lot of questions about this, not the least of which is “Why?”

Do you know your NABF?

Here follows an interview with Sue Munday from the American Contract Bridge League (and Managing Editor of the Bridge Bulletin) for an interview.

Alex J Coyne: How new is the NABF compared to other federations?

Sue Munday: The North American Bridge Federation is the newest of the World Bridge Federation’s Zonal Authorities. It has just been incorporated by officers of the U.S. Bridge Federation, and a first meeting is planned following the ACBL’s Spring North American Bridge Championships.

The NABF is made up of the three National Bridge Organizations (NBO) in North America: the Canadian Bridge Federation, the Federacion Mexicana de Bridge and the USBF. The NBOs are the mechanisms for participating in WBF world championships and other international competitions.

Formerly, the ACBL was the Zonal Authority for Zone 2 of the WBF. The new federation was formed when the WBF and ACBL agreed that the ACBL could no longer act as the Zonal Authority for Zone 2 of the WBF.

Alex J Coyne: Why can’t the ACBL act as Zonal Authority for Zone 2?

Sue Munday: Complicated answer. The WBF is committed to Olympic Games participation, meaning that all subsets of the WBF (Zones) must be also. Because the ACBL will not submit to the authority of the Court for Arbitration of Sport or the World Anti-Doping Association, the ACBL could not function as the Zone 2 rep, and the WBF told the ACBL of its decision about two years ago. This means that a new zonal organization for North America had to be created, thus the NABF was formed.

So we have the WBF (world), the NABF (Zone 2: North America) and three NBOs (USBF, CBF and FMB for the three member countries of North America, USA, Canada and Mexico).

The ACBL is to the WBF sort of like the NBA is to world/Olympic basketball … not really part of the hierarchy.

Alex J Coyne: Do the 3 involved NBO’s pay any fee to the NABF? Do members?

Sue Munday: No and no.

Alex J Coyne: Do Canada, Mexico and the U.S. still share membership in the ACBL?

Sue Munday: Players in Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and also Bermuda are members of the ACBL. The Canadian, Mexican and U.S. NBOs, however, are not members of the ACBL, just of the WBF.

Alex J Coyne: What’s involved in serving on the board?

Sue Munday: The Board will consist of nine directors: two directors appointed by the ACBL, two director as appointed by the CBF, one director appointed by the FMB and four directors appointed by the USBF.

A director’s duties include attending conference call Board meetings to elect representatives to the WBF Executive Committee and dealing with any other issues that may arise involving the three NBOs.

Alex J Coyne: How does this affect things for the larger bridge world?

Sue Munday: The formation of this new federation consolidates issues relative to international competition and puts them in the hands of the North American NBOs, who have been doing the work all along. The transition should be invisible as far as the larger bridge world goes.