March 31, 2009

RSPBA quiet on international judges matter

Despite correspondence from the Australia Pipe Band Association, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario and several of the six adjudicators affected by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s decision to suspend international judges, the RSPBA has not yet responded directly to inquiries in a substantive way.
Separate official letters have been sent to the RSPBA from both the APBA and the PPBSO, each explaining their association’s perspective on the matter. Both organizations have contended that communications from the RSPBA about the requirement to provide sample score sheets were never made clear, and that the urgency of the matter and imposed deadlines were lacking.
The APBA contends in its letter that no agreement exists stating that score sheets were to be provided. The correspondence goes on to challenge the RSPBA to produce an agreement signed by the President of the APBA, minutes of a meeting at which the APBA was represented and the matter was properly debated and decided, or copies of relevant correspondence from 2005 when the program to accept international judges was initiated.
The APBA goes on to ask for “reparations” on the matter, saying, “The essential first step must be that the RSPBA admits to itself at National Council that it has erred. The RSPBA must then rescind at National Council any motion that was passed and which was based on this error. An appropriate apology to the affected Associations and International Adjudicators would show good faith and at least support future negotiations to facilitate training and development.”
The PPBSO has acknowledged that it was informed in 2004 that it needed to supply random copies of score sheets from nominated judges from its panel, which the PPBSO provided. The organization says that it was never made clear that additional samples of score sheets were necessary from following years.
PPBSO President Bob Allen has said that his correspondence to RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton has not been acknowledged by the RSPBA.
The APBA’s letter summarizes by saying, “Upon appointment to the RSPBA panel of adjudicators, the adjudicator is deemed to be a member of the RSPBA and independent of his home Association. Consequently the RSPBA has negotiated directly with the International Adjudicators, without even advice to their home Association, on all matters related to their participation, but not in relation to the submission of copies of critique sheets. The responsibility for the operation of this entire enterprise must lie with the RSPBA and the International Adjudicators.”
The adjudicators impacted are Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall from Ontario, and Brian Niven, Nat Russell and Sam Young from Australia. All six judged RSPBA competitions in 2008.
James Troy Sr. of the British Columbia Pipers Society was also one of the seven international judges brought on to the RSPBA panel in 2005, but it is not known if he has also been suspended. Troy has not judged any RSPBA events.
The RSPBA’s annual general meeting is scheduled for March 14th in Glasgow.
Despite requests to provide further perspective on the matter, Embelton has not responded to pipes|drums.


  1. No surprise here. They’re so out of touch with reality at this point, it defies reason. That being said, and in spite of all the rancor,this August some 200 plus bands still march in lock-step off to Glasgow for the coveted prizes. Common decency aside, why should the RSPBA care?

  2. Why would he answer Pipes|Drums??? Common courtesy, responding to legitimate inquiries by the forth estate, better relationships with the piping and non piping press, getting his message out world-wide, being timely and responsive to his constituents and the world-wide piping community, doing anything to obviate the growing image of the RSPBA as being provincial, non responsive, arbitrary, secretive, and a star chamber … name a few. Cheers, Doc

  3. The matter is really between the RSPBA, their rules and the non RSPBA judges involved. The situation may or may not have any impact on playing members of the various piping societies. The RSPBA is under no obligation to respond to pipes/drums, but as a matter of courtecy reaaly should provide some sort of official postion. Perhaps they are waiting for the upcoming meeting before responding. I had posted something earlier which pretty well summed up the situation, but unfortunately the editor was understandably obligated to remove it……

  4. I wish the collective piping world had the stones to say screw u” to the RSPBA and start an alternate contest. I’m sick of being treated like an ignorant colonial…”

  5. Hi and albeit for me to say as I am not in the position to assert anything within the piping world, what a great shame that this is happening to the overseas judges , I know a few of them top hand and lets not let the egos or the fact get within the job itself , they do a fantastic job and I applaude them. Gordon Webster



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