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For the first time in several years, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association will not hold a professional development seminar for adjudicators during the week preceding the World Pipe Band Championships. The event has been held in the past on the Wednesday before the contest, allowing any non-UK RSPBA-accredited judges to more easily fulfill the expectation that judges attend at least one professional development seminar to maintain good standing on the panel.
In the last week, several of the association’s “international” judges were informed that the seminar would not be held, despite the fact that at least four of the six plan to be in Glasgow at that time, even though none have been assigned to the World Championships or any other RSPBA-sanctioned competitions in 2009.
In a letter to the judges, RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton stated, “The decision has been taken for a number of reasons. There are still ongoing outstanding issues which require to be resolved relating to some International Adjudicators. There has been no formal notification to the RSPBA from those individuals who are travelling to Scotland this year, and it seems likely that there will be insufficient numbers to justify a workshop in its normal format.”
There are apparently at least three workshops for RSPBA judges at other times and in other locations throughout the year, but traveling to attend one and thus fulfill the requirement would be difficult for the international judges.
In a much discussed decision, six international judges – Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall of Canada; and Brian Niven, Nat Russell and Sam Young of Australia – were "put in suspension" in February after the RSPBA determined that they had not provided sample score sheets from competitions they judged with their home associations. The organization contended that the score sheet stipulation was communicated in 2005 when four of the six went through the RSPBA’s certification process; the judges and their associations claim that no such requirement was conveyed.
The three Australian judges stated that they were in compliance with the requirement.
According to sources within the RSPBA, Niven and Russell have allegedly had their suspensions lifted after providing sample score sheets from recent Australian competitions, but they have not yet been assigned to any RSPBA events for 2009.