March 31, 2009

RSPBA finally makes statement at AGM on international judges issue

After more than a month of silence on the matter, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association made its first public statement on the suspension of six of its “international” adjudicators after the RSPBA alleged that the judges and/or their home associations failed to provide sample copies of score sheets from competitions that they judged on their home ground.

RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly in a prepared statement defended the position of his organization, maintaining that the RSPBA advised judges and their associations of the need to provide sample sheets, including stipulation in 2004, when four of the judges in question went through the accreditation process, that sample sheets would need to be forwarded in an ongoing manner.

The judges affected are Brian Niven, Nat Russell and Sam Young of Australia, and Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller and Bob Worrall of Ontario. All six judged RSPBA events regularly since 2006 and, in the case of Worrall, since 1989.

Reilly said to the audience at the AGM that review of scoresheets from all RSPBA judges is conducted every year. He contended that, when it was realized at a November 2, 2008, meeting of RSPBA judges that the international judges were not in compliance they were advised of the matter “within 24 hours,” but that sample sheets were still not received.

Reilly maintained that a letter outlining the compliance requirements was included when the RSPBA sent its form to determine each judge’s availability for 2009 competitions on December 15, 2008. He said that still no sample sheets were provided.

It was stressed at the AGM that none of the judges have been “banned” from the RSPBA’s panel, and only “held in suspension” until the judges provide sample scoresheets and are approved to continue judging after their review. The Australian judges have contended that they did fax copies of sample scoresheets before the 2009 allocation of judges was made.

Both the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario and the Australia Pipe Band Association have said that they received no official correspondence from the RSPBA advising them that sample sheets would be required ongoing.

Despite several requests, the RSPBA has not responded to pipes|drums’ invitation to the organization to provide its perspective on the matter.




  1. Kevin Reilly concludes his statement on the RSPBA stance on the matter, We must protect the member bands of the RSPBA and make sure that we give them the best Adjudication possible.” Setting aside the issue at hand of the alleged failure of international judges to comply with RSPBA requirements

  2. I am certain all this bureaucracy is necessary to run five identical contests each year and one drumming competition and it is the best way to ensure longevity by remaining aware, reactive and flexible. Great work!

  3. I know no single individual’s opinion can make much difference…But as far as I am concerned, this would be a good time for the two associations whose LEGITIMATE judges have been affected by this decision to publicly announce that they no longer recognize the RSPBA AS having the authority to grant” a “World Championship” title. They should also notify the civil authorities in Glasgow of this action. The city has a lot more to lose and would be far more responsive than the RSPBA has been on any issue affecting the “international” aspect of the activities at Glasgow Green…”

  4. I’ve never seen such a steaming pile of manure in my life. And that’s pretty amazing, because I’ve said the same thing about the last 1/2 dozen or so statements or policies to come out of the RSPBA. They just raise the bar all by themselves time and time again. Very impressive. There is a way to fix this. It’s not a world championship if there are no overseas bands competing there. If we, the international community, don’t do something to stop this foolishness, well than we get what we deserve. It’s very simple. We don’t even have to do anything. Just stay home. We can save all that plane fare etc… OR we could hold our own worlds in say… Jamaica??? In either case, if you’re going to Scotland for the worlds this year, you are, unintentionally, feeding the stupid… It is a harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless.

  5. This is just further evidence that suggests the RSPBA does not know what is good for themselves. This whole debacle would be comical if it did not smear the reputations of highly qualified and astute judges in a such a way. This just leaves me feeling even less convinced that the right hands are on the tiller. Piping and drumming around the globe seems to be going from strength to strength in most corners, despite this lunacy at the top. Just how much better could/would piping and drumming be if the right people were in charge….? This is nothing but an insecurity complex, where the RSPBA wishes to trample someone every now and then just to maintain some sort of ‘credibility’ and standing over us all. What childish rot. From what I have read, seen and been told (by those in the know), there is only one party at fault here. Hats off to you, RSPBA. You never cease to amaze me.

  6. From what I can see, The RSPBA is about the RSPBA, NOT pipe bands. Once you realize that, everything becomes clear. They can’t really be held at fault for this. They are no different than most other organizations and ruling committees around the world. I mean, do you really believe that a car manufacturer’s board of directors are actually interested in making cars? It’s all about me!””



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