December 06, 2016

World associations in suspense over bans

Association leaders at the 2006 ANAPBA Summit. [Image copyright pipes|drums]
When a recognized piping and drumming association suspends one of its members, must sister associations around the world honour that suspension? Should there be a reciprocal agreement between them?

In the case of Pipe Bands Australia hitting four members of the now-defunct City of Whitehorse Pipe Band with suspensions of from two years to an unprecedented 48 months, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association reportedly stated that it would honour the suspensions. The reciprocal move seemingly was designed to prevent them from them playing at the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships or other RSPBA events, even as a guest with an RSPBA member band.

For the City of Whitehorse pipe-major and lead-drummer who were suspended by Pipe Bands Australia for four and two years, respectively, reciprocal agreements between world associations could effectively end his competitive playing days globally for that period. Not permitted to compete for four years might feel like a death sentence for those who have committed much of their lives to the art.

+ You can’t fire us; we quit! Whitehorse story continues

Suspensions of bands or players from associations are infrequent, even rare. When they do occur, they are generally for a period of weeks or, at most, a season, as in the case of the RSPBA in 2012 suspending then Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick for three months in the middle of the season.

+ RSPBA suspends Kilpatrick for three months for Facebook comment

A suspension of four years is unprecedented, and leads to a dilemma that could be faced by sister associations if the former City of Whitehorse members wanted to compete with a band in another jurisdiction. With bands desperate to increase numbers to keep up with winning trends, players with Grade 1 experience are sure to be highly sought after.

It turns out that, while the RSPBA was quick to affirm that it would respect the City of Whitehorse suspensions, other associations are unsure as to what they would do, since they have no formal policies or rules in place on such instances – mainly because they have never been faced with such a quandary.

In January representatives of the 10 organizations that comprise the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations will meet at its semi-regular summit, and the issue is almost certain to be on the table for discussion.

Early in ANAPBA’s its existence the collective set out to establish reciprocity with rules between organizations as they made sense, to enable a more consistent competitive field between jurisdictions. Policies regarding reciprocal disciplinary actions reportedly have not been discussed – until now.

Such a scenario is being discussed by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, according to EUSPBA President Dan Cole: “This is an open topic with the executive committee at the moment. Unfortunately, as a matter . . .



  1. In the vicinity of twenty years ago the Nova Scotia Pipe Band Association (pre Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association) suspended a number of players (I believe it was three pipers and one drummer) for the remainder of the season after an incident where the players in question demonstrated disrespectful behaviour toward the four adjudicators at the Antigonish Games. When the band attempted to compete at the Maxville and Montreal Games on the PPBSO circuit, the PPBSO honoured the Nova Scotia suspension and barred the players from competing on the Ontario circuit. So, while that suspension was only for the remainder of the season, there is precedent in terms of North American Associations honouring the suspensions by a sister organization. Bob Worrall

  2. I am surprised that the RSPBA rules and code of conduct (provided they have one) dont directly address this issue. Common sense would suggest that any player who is registered with the RSPBPA and is banned from any branch anywhere in the world would be automatically banned from joining another band in another jurisdiction??? I think clarity is needed on this issue from RSPBA headquarters in Glasgow to address the situation. I appreciate that this is a very rare situation were the conduct of players results in such severe punishment but if there is no mechanism in place that prevents these players joinining and competing with another band within the membership of the RSPBA then the matter needs dealt with immediately.



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