‘International’ RSPBA judges reinstated . . . or so they think
After more than a year since the RSPBA’s decision to place the six “international” judges on its panel in “suspense” over their alleged non-compliance with the organization’s policy that calls for all judges to provide example score sheets, it appears that the judges in question may have been reinstated, although none have been contacted directly by the organization.
The affected judges – Brian Niven, Nat Russell and Sam Young of Australia, and Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall of Ontario – learned of the apparent lifting of their suspensions by seeing the RSPBA’s judging allocation tables, posted online as a “first version” on February 6th, inferring that they are now in good standing.
Inquiries by pipes|drums to the six judges returned five responses, all of which said that they had heard nothing directly and formally from the organization regarding their status.
Asked directly about the judges’ status, with several messages left, the RSPBA has not responded.
“One would have thought it would be procedure/courteous to inform the adjudicators of their allocation before publication,” said one of the suspended judges.
While the judges have been assigned to major championships, none so far have been put on Grade 1 events.
“Interesting to note that none have been allocated Grade 1 anywhere, and raises the subject of equity of allocation in the first instance,” one of the international judges said on condition of anonymity. “I’m not sure the bands are interested, [but it raises] the subject of representation from the international adjudicators at the World Pipe Band Championships in the Grade 1 arena.”
Typically there are few, if any, bands from Canada or Australia that compete at RSPBA events other than the World’s, where the top two grades have the highest ratio of international competitors.
At least a few of the judges did not receive availability forms from the RSPBA. Another adjudicator added, “This season we were not even sent an availability form as is the usual practice, so we emailed the RSPBA off our own backs giving them the contests that we would be available for this season.”
While Russell and Worrall have served on the RSPBA’s panel since the mid-1980s, in 2005 the organization put additional candidates through a rigourous vetting and testing process, even though all of them had judged in some cases for decades with their home associations and competed at the highest levels for many years.
While the RSPBA involves the international judges’ home associations in the process, the adjudicators consider themselves simply to be also on the RSPBA’s panel directly and, as such, not “international,” but simply RSPBA-panel judges.