‘Belongers’ Eligible For International Sports

December 11, 2018

The Supreme Court of Bermuda has handed down a judgment stating that for the purposes of a sporting competition any person “deemed to belong to Bermuda” is “considered equivalent to a citizen and/or national under Bermuda law for such purposes.”

A spokesperson from a group involved in the matter said, “The Supreme Court of Bermuda has determined that all persons “deemed to belong” to Bermuda are eligible to represent Bermuda in international sporting events.

Screenshot from the judgment:

2018-12-07-Supreme-Court-Bermuda-Civil-Jurisdiction-2018-209-Judgment.pdf - Google Chrome 12112018 34414 PM-001

“Until the Judgment handed down by Chief Justice Hargun on Friday 7th December, only those holding Bermudian Status and more recently, “deemed Bermudians”, were considered eligible for selection for Bermuda.

“Chief Justice Hargun noted in his Judgment that the rules of international sporting competitions typically required participants to be either ‘citizens’ or ‘nationals’ of the countries they were representing and that as a British Overseas Territory, the equivalent of citizenship of Bermuda for these purposes should be determined by reference to the Bermuda Constitution.

“Section 11[5] of the Constitution defines all those who ‘Belong’ to Bermuda as those holding Bermudian Status, Naturalized British Overseas Territories Citizens, their wives and children under the age of 18.

“The case was brought by two junior athletes, supported by Equal Opportunities in Sport, a group set up to promote participation in sport.”

Nick Williamson, spokesperson of Equal Opportunities in Sport, said, “We hope this judgment will be welcomed by the Bermuda Olympic Association and the governing bodies of all sporting federations in Bermuda who have lost home-grown and usually Bermuda-born junior elite athletes who ‘belong’ to Bermuda to other nations because until now they were not considered eligible to represent Bermuda.”

“The recognition of all Belongers for national sports selection should create a wider pool of potential athletes representing Bermuda in international sporting events which it is hoped will lead to even greater sporting success. It should also help bolster those sporting events where it is often difficult to secure the right number of suitably qualified athletes from such a small nation, such as swim relay teams.”

The full judgment follows below [PDF here]:


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