EUSPBA Asks Games to Pay Tariff For ‘Guest’ Judges
The executive committee of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association (EUSPBA) has passed a motion that asks EUSPBA-sanctioned competitions to pay US$50 for every judge not on that association’s adjudicators panel.
According to sources, the policy was instated before the January summit of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations (ANAPBA), but was never discussed at the meeting. Among the aims of ANAPBA are to improve reciprocity between North American organizations and foster uniformity in judging standards. The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO), among others, has had a judging reciprocity agreement in place with the EUSPBA for many years.
In a memo given to us by EUSPBA president Albert McMullin, the EUSPBA attempts to explain its new policy for sanctioned contests. The organization presents the case that it requires its panel judges to “attend a mandatory professional development seminar at least once every two years,” and since the “penalty for failure to attend is removal from our panel until the requirement is fulfilled” it contends that, since no other organization has such “mandatory continuing professional development requirements from their home association…the US$50 fee for guest judges was recommended and approved in December.”
Competitions in the United States routinely bring in judges from Canada and Scotland.
The EUSPBA goes on to say that in various circumstances, such as no EUSPBA judges being available, then the fee would be waived. “If a hiring games has a reason why a non-EUSPBA judge should be hired, you may rest assured their request will be carefully considered and a waiver of the fee will most likely be granted,” McMullin said.
The document states: “We . . . feel very confident in stating that our judges panel is as competent and as qualified to judge and should be given first consideration [all italics theirs] when games look to hire adjudicators for their contests. ”
When asked if he thinks that the EUSPBA’s judges panel is as good as those of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), PPBSO, or Scotland’s Joint Committee for Judging, McMullin stated, “Yes, I do. When you start bringing up other associations, one has to reverse the question and ask if the RSPBA, PPBSO or the Joint Committee…thinks the EUSPBA’s panel is as good as theirs?”
McMullin continued, “It is my understanding the RSPBA makes judges go through their course to judge at their championship contests. There was a small loophole a few years back where some PPBSO judges got onto RSPBA’s panel but that loophole is now closed. So, does the RSPBA believe anyone’s panel is as good as theirs? I am certain we could all agree that the answer to this question is ‘no.’ Let’s take PPBSO. Does it think the EUSPBA’s panel is as good as theirs? Let’s not beat around the bush. I think the answer to that is also ‘no.’. Compare this to the [previous] answer…and you can figure out who is more open minded and more willing to accept the views of other panels.”
According to McMullin, EUSPBA judges and not its executive committee (although some EUSPBA executives are also judges) initially raised the fee concept.
“I am completely taken aback by this turn of events and I simply don’t understand the logic behind such a protectionism policy, in spite of the reasoning put forth,” said Bob Allen, PPBSO president. “It certainly does not bolster confidence in the ability of the 10 North American Associations to cooperate with one another, which was one of the cornerstones for the formation of the ANAPBA. It is especially galling when it had been enacted prior to the meeting in Atlanta in January but not a word was mentioned. The PPBSO will have to take a long hard look at its policy of reciprocity. At the moment, I can’t elaborate on our action play but I will keep you posted on further developments.”
When asked what the reaction has been from EUSPBA-sanctioned games, McMullin said, “I am not sure if very many of the games have any interest in this issue. This is not a problem for most of the 45 plus games sanctioned by the EUSPBA because most of them hire solely off the EUSPBA list.”
When asked whether the move was in fact protectionism, the EUSPBA president responded, “If you mean making sure our members and sanctioned games are being judged by competent judges, then I guess you could call it whatever you want. We have had numerous instances where ‘guest’ judges have not been familiar with our score sheets and our scoring system. We even had a ‘guest’ judge show up at a piobaireachd contest without his music books. Considering what we make our judges do to stay on the panel, I don’t think the word ‘protectionist’ is the right word to use.”
On condition of anonymity, one prominent Canadian piping judge said, “There seems to be a huge irony in the push by various groups for an organization like ANAPBA: there’s feigned collaboration on the one hand and unproductive and unhealthy protectionism on the other. It seems a wee bit small-minded and makes no sense. In Canada we pay premiums to have skilled people in positions where they can help us develop. Look at our national downhill ski program’s Austrian coach, our Olympic swimming program’s Australian staff; we make the most of Russian experts in figure skating. I feel sad for American piping.”
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