RSPBA judges meeting addresses international issue

Published: November 30, 2009
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At the annual meeting of Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association adjudicators on November 1st the still unresolved issue of six “international” judges whose status is “in suspense” was addressed, with the matter sent to the RSPBA’s governing National Council for a final recommendation.

The six judges – Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall from Ontario, and Nat Russell, Brian Niven and Sam Young from Australia – were first put in suspense in February 2009 after the organization’s November 2008 judges meeting, where it was alleged that the judges had not fulfilled an annual requirement to submit sample scoresheets from their home association. The judges were then placed in suspense, meaning that they were still on the panel, but not to be employed as judges until their standing is resolved.

According to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, the RSPBA has received sample scoresheets from the judges in question. The judges at the November 1st meeting “satisfied themselves that the international judges were active and operating satisfactorily” after their scoresheets were reviewed.

Other sources present at the November 1st RSPBA judges meeting told pipes|drums, again on condition of anonymity, that the discussion of the matter was often acrimonious, with heated arguments about the status of the international judges, with one judge present allegedly recommending that one of the international judges should be expelled from the RSPBA panel permanently, or “sine die.”

Complicating the matter is upset over an article published in the February 15, 2009, Sunday Times in which two of the judges were referenced.

The RSPBA’s National Council will reportedly meet in November to make a recommendation. One person within the RSPBA said that should the National Council recommend bringing the judges out of suspense, the RSPBA judges panel as a group may be severely divided, and could call an “emergency meeting” to decide how they will react.

The association’s judges are led by a “management committee” comprising all Scottish-based judges: Alistair Aitken, Jim Hutton, Malcolm MacKenzie, Joe Noble and Bob Shepherd. Hutton chaired the 2009 meeting.

Dinsdale was a judge at the 2009 World Solo Drumming Championships on October 24th, although allegedly none of the judges in question have received any formal or written correspondence from the RSPBA on the matter.

RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton has not yet replied to questions on the matter.

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