February 10, 2023

RSPBA has no replacement solution; 2023 British Championships presumed cancelled

True to its word, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association made a statement on February 10th regarding a potential alternative solution to replace the cancelled British Pipe Band Championships, but surprised many by saying that it would not go ahead a plan to hold various grades of competitions at smaller competitions throughout the 2023 season.

The organization had hinted at such an approach when it revealed on February 5th that it had been unsuccessful at securing a new location for the British Championships three months after it was disclosed that Inverclyde Council would not consider holding the British again after it licensed the event in 2022 and held the competition at Battery Park in Greenock, Scotland.

The association’s public statement said, “Following consideration of the extensive feedback from RSPBA Branches, Individuals & Existing Event Promoters, a viable solution to spread the Championship Grades across the Minor competitions cannot be found. This is primarily due to the substantial knock on effects to already established local events. The Board of Director’s share the disappointment of the membership in being unable to find a solution and are now working on securing Promoters and Venues for the 2024 season and beyond.”

With no more details, the pipe band world is led to believe that there will be no more than four major championships in the RSPBA season. It is believed to be the first time in the association’s history that fewer than five championships will be held, apart from 2020 and 2021 when no competitions were staged in the UK due to the Covid pandemic.

“A viable solution to spread the Championship Grades across the Minor competitions cannot be found.” – RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly

The move brought into question whether the RSPBA was within the bounds of its Articles of Association, which until March 2021 included a clause that required it to hold five major championships as part of its mandate as a “charitable” organization.

A special resolution was made at the time that said, “The championship list has not been maintained since the introduction of the UK Championship. To be flexible, the statement needs to be generic and avoid the need to list all the events the organisation operates both now and, in the future, whilst maintaining our registered titles Articles of Association – 4 (iv) Change Article: – (iv) organise and operate the World, European, British, Scottish, and all major pipe band championships held within the United Kingdom; To Read: – (iv) organise and operate all the Major Pipe Band Championships run under RSPBA Rules, protecting the registered titles World Pipe Band Championship and The World Pipe Band Championships.”

Following the original news on the British Championships, rumours swirled that the UK Pipe Band Championships were also in doubt. pipes|drums confirmed with Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council that the event will be held on June 10th at Lurgan Park in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Sources have said the 2023 competition will be the last one in the current three-year deal with the council.

In other RSPBA news, minutes of the RSPBA’s board of directors’ meeting of January 28, 2023, revealed that former Vice-Chair John Hughes was nominated by the RSPBA’s London and South of England branch to return to the position. Hughes played a significant role in overseeing the headquarters renovation project that was at the centre of much member and media scrutiny.

The organization’s annual general meeting is scheduled for March 11th, to be held both in-person and online for paid-up member bands only.





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