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The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has notified its “international” judges that they have not been assigned to any RSPBA events in 2009, including several who judged at RSPBA competitions in 2008.
Removed until further notice are Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall from Ontario, and Nat Russell, Brian Niven and Sam Young from Australia.
The suspensions stem from a decision made at the annual meeting of the RSPBA Adjudicators’ Panel in November 2008 at which it was decided that international judges needed to comply with a requirement to submit sample scoresheets from their work with their home associations for review by the RSPBA.
Failure to provide sample sheets resulted in notification from RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton that they have not been assigned to any 2009 RSPBA competitions, including the World Pipe Band Championships where approximately one-third of bands are from non-RSPBA organizations.
“In accordance with the decision made at the Adjudicators Panel AGM in November you will be held in suspense until such time as the relevant documents are received,” Embelton’s letter stated.
RSPBA judging assignments reportedly have been made,
although they have not yet been publicized and were posted by the organization on February 11. There are no international judges allocated to championships.
At the November meeting concern about a “double standard” was allegedly raised, since RSPBA judges’ have their sheets reviewed each year. It was then decided that all international judges would be required to submit sheets, including those who judged at RSPBA competitions. to keep their eligibility to judge RSPBA contests.
Most of the international judges affected were added to the RSPBA’s panel in 2005, but only after going through an extensive application process, that included a seminar, examination and trial-judging, even though most had had extensive judging experience with their home associations.
In Worrall’s case he has been a judge at RSPBA events since 1989, most of those years at the World Championships.
Some organizations, including the PPBSO, do not currently automatically make duplicates of score sheets, so copying would have had to be arranged in advance. In 2005, applicant international judges had to provide sample score sheets before they were allowed to go through the process.
In a letter to Embelton in response to being informed of the decision, Worrall wrote, “It is becoming obvious to me that the RSPBA Adjudicators Panel is attempting everything in its power to be protectionist. I truly believed that the RSPBA welcomed input from overseas adjudicators, adjudicators who would add a respected ‘international’ balance to the panel at major international competitions.”
The RSPBA does not provide any funding to international judges for air travel; they are offered the same honourarium that UK-based RSPBA adjudicators receive, which last year was 66 pounds for the World’s, 55 pounds for other championships and 42 pounds for non-championships. Sixty pounds are given for one-night’s accommodation, if needed.
Eller and Worrall have each conducted by invitation sessions at the RSPBA’s meeting of adjudicators following the World Championships.
Ironically, the RSPBA is said to be commencing a new Service Medal award to judges who have provided 20 or more years of commitment to judging their events, a milestone that Worrall reaches in 2009.
pipes|drums has asked Embelton for further comment but has so far has not received a response.