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2017 Rules Discretionary and Flexible Penalties

20 January 2017 - 11:34 PM

Introduction

 

Traditionally the penalty for a boat breaking a rule has been to retire or be disqualified.  The 2017 Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) continue the trend away from Retirement or Disqualification as the only penalties, started with the optional introduction of Turns and Percentage penalties in the 1981 rules.

 

Changes to Rules

 

The 2017 rules provide a graduated range of penalties for breaches of some rules as follows:

 

Introduction, Terminology, Notation, formally introduce the concept of Discretionary Penalty and provides a standard method of notation to be used where Discretionary Penalties are prescribed in SI (which is not followed in the RRS themselves)

 

The rules provide for penalties less than disqualification to be awarded at the discretion of the protest committee for breaches of the following rules:

 

Rule 2 Sportsmanship:   penalty may now be disqualification that may be excluded from series score;

 

Rule 41 Outside Help for a crew member who is ill, injured, or in danger, resulting in the boat gaining a significant advantage in the race (introduced in 2013):  penalty may be less than disqualification;

 

Rule 55 Trash Disposal:  penalty may be less than disqualification;

 

New rule 64.4 Decisions Concerning Support Persons:

 

Support persons may be warned, denied privileges or excluded from the venue;

 

Boats may be penalised by changing the boat’s score in a single race, up to and including disqualification;

 

Rule 69 Misconduct:

 

Competitors may be warned, denied privileges or benefits, or excluded from the event or venue;  and

 

Boats may have their score changed in one or more races, including disqualification(s) that may or may not be excluded from their series score;

 

Rule T1 Post Race Penalty (to be optionally included by NOR or SI) provides for a boat to take a Post Race Penalty of 30% after the finish of a race, whether or not there has been a protest or any arbitration, under the same conditions as for taking a turns or scoring penalty on the water under rule 44.

 

The 2017 rules also expands conditions where boats may be penalised, where they were not previously.

 

Preamble to Part 2 now provides that a boat, subject to the rules, but not racing may be penalised, if she breaks rule 14 and the incident results in injury or serious damage;

 

Rule 36 Races Restarted or Resailed  provides that if a race is restarted or resailed, a boat that broke rule 14 and caused injury or serious damage may be penalised (disqualified) in the restarted or resailed race.

 

Rule 64.3( c ) Decisions on Protests Concerning Class Rules, provides that When a boat is penalized under a class rule and the protest committee decides that the boat also broke the same rule in earlier races in the same event, the penalty may be imposed for all such races. No further protest is necessary.

 

 

Guidance on Discretionary Penalties

 

WS has undertaken to publish guidance on the application of Discretionary Penalties.  This typically takes the form of matrices or tables classifying various types of breaches.

 

An example from the Rio Olympics is at http://www.sailing.o...016-[21019].pdf


2017 Rules Rule 69

20 January 2017 - 04:58 AM

Introduction
 
Significant changes to Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) rule 69 Misconduct have been made in the 2017 version as follows:

  • References to ‘gross’ have been deleted, thus making any incidents of misconduct by competitors, boat owners and support persons subject to the rule.
  • The scale of penalties has been expanded to provide lesser penalties for less than ‘gross’ misconduct by allowing the penalty to be change in a boat’s score in one or more races, including disqualification that may or may not be excluded from the boat’s series score
  • Penalties have been ‘downshifted’ so that DNE is no longer automatically reportable to MNA for further action:  the reporting threshold is now penalty greater than one DNE or exclusion of a person from the event or venue.
  • Procedures have been amplified to:
  • Allow the appointment of investigators, who shall not be members of the protest committee that will decide the matter, to gather relevant information and report to the protest committee before the protest committee decides whether or not to call a hearing;
  • If the protest committee decides to call a hearing, allow the appointment of a person, should not be a member of the protest committee hearing the matter,  to present the allegation at the hearing;
  • Entitle a person against whom an allegation has been made to have an advisor and a representative with him who may act on his behalf at a hearing.

Guidance for protest committees dealing with rule 69 has been provided in Appendix M Recommendations for Protest Committees
 
Protest committees are expected to decide not to hold a rule 69 hearing when the allegation does not warrant such action.
 
World Sailing Submissions for Change with rules text as finally approved
 

Submission 201-15
 
Rule 69, Appendices M & N
 
A submission from the Chairmen of the Constitution Committee, Race Officials Committee and Racing Rules Committee
 
Purpose or Objective
 
To update RRS 69 to remedy shortcomings based on experience since the current version was introduced, and in response to the undertaking to CAS to review the processes.
 
The rule should be updated to achieve the following:
 
(i) remove the concept of “Gross” misconduct as distinct to misconduct from this rule;
 
(ii) to reintroduce a rule of misconduct by supporters, coaches and similar;
 
(iii) to maintain the concept of increasing penalties determined by the severity of the misconduct;
 
(iv) to establish a higher threshold before the decision of a protest committee should be notified to a national authority or ISAF; and
 
(v) to remove from the rule the procedures to be followed by ISAF, which will be set out in a new or amended Regulation generally.
 
To improve the guidance to protest committees acting under rule 69.
 
To update RRS Appendix N (International Juries) in line with the new RRS 69 and to improve the guidance for the conduct of hearings. 229
 
Proposal 1
 
Delete rule 69 and replace as follows:
 
SECTION C
 
MISCONDUCT
 
69 MISCONDUCT
 
69.1 Obligation not to Commit Misconduct; Resolution
 

(a) A competitor, boat owner or support person shall not commit an act of misconduct.

 

( b ) Misconduct is:

 

(1) conduct that is a breach of good manners, a breach of good sportsmanship, or unethical behaviour; or

 

(2) conduct that may bring the sport into disrepute.

 

© An allegation of a breach of rule 69.1(a) shall be resolved in accordance with the provisions of rule 69. It shall not be grounds for a protest and rule 63.1 does not apply.

 
69.2 Action by a Protest Committee
 

(a) A protest committee acting under this rule shall have at least three members.

 

( b ) When a protest committee, from its own observation or from information received from any source, including evidence taken during a hearing, believes a person may have broken rule 69.1(a), it shall decide whether or not to call a hearing.

 

© When the protest committee needs more information to make the decision to call a hearing, it shall consider appointing a person or persons to conduct an investigation. These investigators shall not be members of the protest committee that will decide the matter.

 

(d) When an investigator is appointed, all relevant information he gathers, favourable or unfavourable, shall be disclosed to the protest committee, and if the protest committee decides to call a hearing, to the parties.

 

(e) If the protest committee decides to call a hearing, it shall promptly inform the person in writing of the alleged breach and of the time and place of the hearing and follow the procedures in rules 63.2, 63.3(a), 63.4 and 63.6 except that:

 

(1) unless a person has been appointed by World Sailing, a person may be appointed by the protest committee to present the allegation.

 

(2) a person against whom an allegation has been made under this rule shall be entitled to have an advisor and a representative with him who may act on his behalf.

 

(f) If the person is unable to attend the hearing and

 

(1) provides good reason, the protest committee shall reschedule it; or

 

(2) does not provide good reason and does not come to it, the protest committee may conduct it without the person present.

 

(g) The standard of proof to be applied is the test of the comfortable satisfaction of the protest committee, bearing in mind the seriousness of the alleged misconduct. However, if the standard of proof in this rule conflicts with the laws of a country, the national authority may, with the approval of World Sailing, change it with a prescription to this rule.

 

(h) When the protest committee decides that a competitor or boat owner has broken rule 69.1(a), it may take one or more of the following actions

 

(1) issue a warning;

 

(2) change their boat’s score in one or more races, including disqualification(s) that may or may not be excluded from her series score;

 

(3) exclude the person from the event or venue or remove any privileges or benefits; and

 

(4) take any other action within its jurisdiction as provided by the rules.

 

(i) When the protest committee decides that a support person has broken rule 69.1(a), rule 64.4 applies.

 

(j) If the protest committee

 

(1) imposes a penalty greater than one DNE;

 

(2) excludes the person from the event or venue; or

 

(3) in any other case if it considers it appropriate,

 

it shall report its findings, including the facts found, its conclusions and decision to the national authority of the person or, for specific international events listed in the World Sailing Regulations, to World Sailing. If the protest committee has acted under rule 69.2(f)(2), the report shall also include that fact and the reasons for it.

 

(k) If the protest committee decides not to conduct the hearing without the person present, or if the protest committee has left the event and a report alleging a breach of rule 69.1(a) is received, the race committee or organizing authority may appoint the same or a new protest committee to proceed under this rule. If it is impractical for the protest committee to conduct a hearing, it shall collect all available information and, if the allegation seems justified, make a report to the national authority of the person or, for specific international events listed in the World Sailing Regulations, to World Sailing.

 
69.3 Action by a National Authority and World Sailing
 
The disciplinary powers, procedures and responsibilities of national authorities and World Sailing that apply are specified in World Sailing Regulation 35, Disciplinary Code. National authorities and World Sailing may impose further penalties, including suspension of eligibility, under that regulation.
 
This submission, prepared by the Rule 69 Working Party, requires the submission 202-15 to add a definition of support person and new rule 3 to be approved.
 
A consequential submission regarding RRS 60 will be made separately.
 
Current Position
 
See current rule 69.
 
Reasons
 
1. The behaviour of coaches and parents has been the cause of considerable problems. The Rule 69 Working Party was tasked to resolve this. Changes in concept were presented in November 2014. This submission achieved that aim while taking into account views expressed last November and the current rule 69 does not provide means to handle these problems.
 
2. There has been considerable difficulty in determining what is and is not “gross” in the context of misconduct. Misconduct is misconduct, and if it is minor or severe the penalty will reflect that.
 
3. A general definition of misconduct is helpful in the RRS as there are many different views around the world as to what constitutes misconduct.
 
4. A Case has also been prepared and is submitted as submission 272-15. Depending on this proposal, the Case will require editing.
 
5. As the procedures for Rule 69 hearings are different from those of other hearings they should be clearly set out, both for the help of the committee and to avoid procedural error.
 
6. It should also be clear that when a protest committee appoints one of its members or any other person to act as the presenter of any case against a competitor, that individual has the same rights as a party to a protest.
 
7. It should be clear as to when a protest committees report should be forwarded to ISAF or MNA
 
8. It should also be clear what happens if either a competitor cannot attend a hearing or if the report prompting a hearing is only received after the event.
 
9. The proposed revised RRS 69 increases the threshold for reporting a breach of RRS 69 to ISAF or MNA to avoid reporting minor penalties. The grounds for this change are to avoid discouraging protest committees from taking action and to avoid MNAs/ISAF needing to handle inappropriate cases.
 
10. These changes were supported in principle by Council in November 2014.
 
Proposal 2
 
Amend rule M5 as follows:
 
M5 MISCONDUCT (rule 69)
 
M5.1 An action under this rule is not a protest, but the protest committee gives its allegations in writing to the competitor before the hearing. The hearing is conducted under rules similar to those governing a protest hearing but the protest committee must have at least three members (rule 69.2(a)). Use the greatest care to protect the competitor’s rights.
 
M5.2 A competitor or a boat cannot protest under rule 69, but the protest form of a competitor who tries to do so may be accepted as a report to the protest committee, which can then decide whether or not to call a hearing.
 
M5.3 Unless World Sailing has appointed a person for the role, the protest committee may appoint a person to present the allegation. This person might be a race official, the person making the allegation or other appropriate person. When no reasonable alternative person is available, a person who was appointed as a member of the protest committee may present the allegation.
 
M5.4 When it is desirable to call a hearing under rule 69 as a result of a Part 2 incident, it is important to hear any boat-vs.-boat protest in the normal way, deciding which boat, if any, broke which rule, before proceeding against the competitor under rule 69.
 
M5.5 Although action under rule 69 is taken against a competitor, boat owner or support person, and not a boat, a boat may also be penalized (rules 69.2(h)(2) and 64.4).
 
M5.6 When a protest committee upholds a rule 69 allegation it will need to consider if it is appropriate to report to either a national authority or World Sailing. Guidance on when to report may be found in the World Sailing Case Book. When the protest committee does make a report it may recommend whether or not further action should be taken.
 
M5.7 Unless the right of appeal is denied in accordance with rule 70.5, a party to a rule 69 hearing may appeal the decision of the protest committee.
 
M5.8 Further guidance for protest committees about misconduct may be found on the World Sailing website.
 
Reasons
 
1. These changes to Appendix M will help protest committees to conduct rule 69 matters in an appropriate manner and will also give any person subject to action under rule 69 confidence that the matter will be managed in an appropriate manner.
 
2. Following these guidelines will reduce the risk of procedural criticism should the case be appealed.
 
3. While this submission has been prepared by the Rule 69 Working Party to be consistent with the proposed changes to rule 69, Proposal 2 is a separate proposal as it is not dependent on Proposal 1 being approved. There is nothing in the current rule 69 that prohibit these procedural clarifications, except that reporting to national authorities or ISAF is different.
 
Proposal 3
1. To move rule N3.2 to N1.6 and renumber N1.6 and N1.7 appropriately.
 
2. Add new rule N4:
 
N4 MISCONDUCT (Rule 69)
 
N4 MISCONDUCT (Rule 69)
 
N4.1 World Sailing Regulation 35, Disciplinary Code, contains procedures that apply to specific international events with regard to the appointment of a person to conduct any investigation. These procedures override any conflicting provision of this appendix.
 
N4.2 A person shall be responsible for presenting to the hearing panel any allegations of misconduct under rule 69. This person shall not be a member of the hearing panel but may be a member of the jury. Such a person shall be required to make full disclosure of all material that may come into his possession in the course of his investigation to the person subject to allegations of a breach of rule 69.
 
N4.3 Prior to a hearing, the hearing panel, to the extent practically possible, shall not act as an investigator of any allegations made under rule 69. However, during the hearing the panel shall be entitled to ask any investigative questions it may see fit.
 
N4.4 If the panel decides to call a hearing, all material disclosed to the panel in order for them to make that decision must be disclosed to the person subject to the allegations before the hearing begins.
 
Reasons
 
1. Placing the current rule N3.2 into N1.6 brings all of the rules governing the requirements for constituting an international jury into one section.
 
2. An international jury conducting a hearing under rule 69 is subject to more stringent procedures than a non-international jury as an international jury decision is not subject to appeal. The more stringent procedures introduce a greater segregation of duties.

 


2017 Rules Support Persons

19 January 2017 - 09:29 AM

Introduction

Difficulties sometimes arise with the conduct of people such as parents and coaches, at sailing events.  An example was the much (unsuccessfully) disputed penalisation of the British Sonar at the London Paralympics.

 

Up to 2017 the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) provided no powers to a protest committee to hear any complaints of behaviour of other than boats, their crews or owners, or competitors.  Protest committees did not have ‘jurisdiction’ over parents or support persons, and there was no power to penalise a boat for bad conduct of parents or support persons connected with it..

 

At major events this was addressed by elaborate Codes of Conduct and written agreements, which were difficult to construct and administer at club and regional level.

 

The 2017 RRS, deal with these problems by:

·         Defining support persons (including parents);

·         Automatically binding support persons to abide by the rules;

·         Empowering protest committees to call a hearing to consider whether a support person has broken a rule, and if it finds that a support person has broken a rule, to:

-       issue a warning or exclude the support person;  and

-       disqualify or change the score of a boat associated with the support person.

  2017 Changes to RRS

The 2017 rules define support person as follows:

 

Support Person Any person who

(a )provides, or may provide, physical or advisory support to a competitor, including any coach, trainer, manager, team staff, medic, paramedic or any other person working with, treating or assisting a competitor in or preparing for the competition, or

(b )is the parent or guardian of a competitor.

 

This definition defines and provides examples of support person, and expressly includes parents or guardians of competitors as support persons, whether they provide physical or advisory support or not.

 

There is no one to one relationship between a boat and a support person.  One support person may provide support to many boats, and one boat may receive support from many support persons.

 

2017 rule 3 makes the rules binding on support persons. It reads as follows:

3 ACCEPTANCE OF THE RULES

3.1 (a) By participating or intending to participate in a race conducted under these rules, each competitor and boat owner agrees to accept these rules.

(b ) A support person by providing support, or a parent or guardian by permitting their child to enter a race, agrees to accept the rules.

3.2 Each competitor and boat owner agrees, on behalf of their support persons, that such support persons are bound by the rules.

3.3 Acceptance of the rules includes agreement

(a) to be governed by the rules;

(b ) to accept the penalties imposed and other action taken under the rules, subject to the appeal and review procedures provided in them, as the final determination of any matter arising under the rules;

© with respect to any such determination, not to resort to any court of law or tribunal not provided for in the rules; and

(d) by each competitor and boat owner to ensure that their support persons are aware of the rules.

3.4 The person in charge of each boat shall ensure that all competitors in the crew and the boat’s owner are aware of their responsibilities under this rule.

3.5 This rule may be changed by a prescription of the national authority of the venue.

 

Although rule 3 makes the rules binding on support persons, the RRS generally are phrased so that they cannot be broken by support persons.  The RRS that support persons can break are:

 

·         Rule 6 Betting and Anti-Corruption. And Rule 7 Disciplinary Code, however these are special rules that can only be subject to action under the WS Disciplinary Code, and can not be subject to protest, or hearings by a protest committee.

 

·         Rule 69.1( a ) Misconduct.

 

Rules governing the conduct of support persons will, if required, need to be written into Sailing Instructions, or Notice of Race.

There is no provision to protest a support person for breaking any rule.  A different process is prescribed.

 

Rule 60.3 ( d ) empowers a protest committee as follows:

 

( d ) call a hearing to consider whether a support person has broken a rule, based on its own observation or information received from any source, including evidence taken during a hearing

 

A support person is a party, with rights to receive notice, question witnesses and do on, to any such hearing, in accordance to the amended definition of party.

Boats, race committees, technical committees, or anyone else, for that matter can submit reports about support persons to the protest committee for consideration.

 

If a protest committee calls a hearing concerning a support person, Rule 64.4 empowers it to make decisions as follows.

 

64.4 Decisions Concerning Support Persons

(a)When the protest committee decides that a support person who is a party to a hearing has broken a rule, it may

(1)issue a warning,

(2)exclude the person from the event or venue or remove any privileges or benefits, or

(3)take other action within its jurisdiction as provided by the rules.

(b )The protest committee may also penalize a competitor for the breach of a rule by a support person by changing the boat’s score in a single race, up to and including DSQ, when the protest committee decides that

(1)the competitor may have gained a competitive advantage as the result of the breach by the support person, or

(2)the support person commits a further breach after the competitor has been warned by the protest committee that a penalty may be imposed

 

Rule 69.1( a ) applies to support persons.  It reads

 

( a ) A competitor, boat owner or support person shall not commit an act of misconduct.

 

Misconduct is defined in rule 69.1( b ) as follows:

 

( b ) Misconduct is:

(1)conduct that is a breach of good manners, a breach of good sportsmanship, or unethical behaviour; or

(2)conduct that may bring the sport into disrepute.

 

A protest committee at an event may conduct a rule 69 hearing with respect to a support person, but the sanctions against a support person available to the protest committee under rule 69.2 are no greater than those available under rule 64.4( a ) following a non-rule 69 hearing.

 

It appears that a breach of rule 69 by a support person associated with a particular boat can not result in any greater penalty on the boat than disqualification under rule 64.4( b ), unless the protest committee also finds that a competitor or boat owner also broke rule 69.1( a )

 

Reasons for Changes

The reasons for the changes are set out in WS Submission to Council 202-15, and 205-15, including:

 

1. There have been many examples of support persons (which includes parents and guardians) behaving in a manner that is detrimental to the sport. While many of these behaviours constitute misconduct and ,…  [may] …  be liable to action under rule 69, this is often perceived as a last resort. If support persons know that competitors may be penalised as a result of their breaches, they are much less likely to do so.

3. The Sailing Instructions often include rules that apply to support persons. An example is the permitted positioning of coach boats and the requirements for coach boats. This submission will make it practical to enforce these rules by including Support Persons in the definition of Party, changing rule 60 to enable a protest committee to call a hearing and adding rule 64.4 to authorise specific penalties to be imposed should a breach of the rules be found.

5. Establishing jurisdiction over competitors is established through their entry to the event. This proposal achieves jurisdiction over support persons by requiring the competitors to act as an agent. This is common to many sports.

6. By providing for hearings and penalties for breaches by support persons the need to use rule 69 for relatively minor breaches of the rules is avoided. This will make it easier for protest committees to act.

 

Implementation at events

Making support persons subject to the rules, particularly SI directed at the conduct of parents and coaches, and rule 69.1( a ) (as broadened in the 2017 rules to include all forms of misconduct), provides Organising Authorities (OA) and Race Committees (RC) with better ability to control bad behaviour by support persons.

 

Unless there is a genuine problem with behaviour of support persons, it is suggested that OA or RC do not introduce new SI dealing with support persons.  Use the new powers only if needed.

 

It is up to a protest committee observing, or receiving a report of behaviour by a support person to decide whether to call a hearing or not.  If a report appears insubstantial or trivial, a protest committee might decide not to call a hearing.

 

If a protest committee decides to call a hearing consider whether a support person has broken a rule, it needs to ensure that the support question is notified of the time and place of the hearing, and advised of the alleged breach.

Rule M5 (Recommendations for Protest Committees - Misconduct) may be helpful guidance on procedures to protest committees, even though a hearing under rule 60.3( d ), may not be a rule 69 hearing.

 

Taking advantage of the Changes

If (and only if) OA or RC genuinely expect problems with behaviour of parents, coaches, or other support persons, they can include specific restrictions and requirements in their SI and enforce compliance under the RRS.

 

Guidance on issues concerning support persons is contained in the Race Officials Manual - Guidance for All Officials


2017 Rules Conflict of Interest

16 January 2017 - 03:24 AM

Introduction

 

Since 1981 the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) have protected the integrity of the protest process by restricting the roles of persons who have a close personal interest in the decision of a protest committee.

 

Up to 2017 this was done by defining ‘a person who may gain or lose as a result of a protest committee’s decision or who has a close personal interest in the decision’ as an interested party, and:

  • Prohibiting an interested party from taking part in the hearing of a protest (2013 rule 63.4);  and
  • Restricting the acceptance of reports from interested parties as the basis of protests by race committees and protest committees (2013 rules 60.2 and 60.3).

The strict application of these rules at small clubs and events caused problems with assembling well qualified protest committees.

 

The 2017 RRS, consistently with the approach taken in administrative governance in World Sailing, replaced interested party and associated prohibitions and restrictions with concepts of Conflict of Interest.

 

2017 Changes to RRS

 

The 2017 rules define Conflict of Interest as follows:

 

Conflict of Interest A person has a conflict of interest if he

(a )may gain or lose as a result of a decision to which he contributes,

(b )may reasonably appear to have a personal or financial interest which could affect his ability to be impartial, or

(c )has a close personal interest in a decision.

 

This definition expands on the old definition of interested party by adding subparagraph ( b ) dealing with the appearance of having a personal or financial interest which could affect impartiality.

 

The 2017 rule dealing with Conflict of Interest and membership of protest committees is rule 63.4, which reads

 

63.4 Conflict of Interest

(a )A protest committee member shall declare any possible conflict of interest as soon as he is aware of it. A party to the hearing who believes a member of the protest committee has a conflict of interest shall object as soon as possible. A conflict of interest declared by a protest committee member shall be included in the written information provided under rule 65.2.

(b )A member of a protest committee with a conflict of interest shall not be a member of the committee for the hearing, unless

(1)all parties consent, or

(2)the protest committee decides that the conflict of interest is not significant.

(c )When deciding whether a conflict of interest is significant, the protest committee shall consider the views of the parties, the level of the conflict, the level of the event, the importance to each party, and the overall perception of fairness.

(d) However, for World Sailing major events, or for other events as prescribed by the national authority of the venue, rule 63.4(b ) does not apply and a person who has a conflict of interest shall not be a member of the protest committee.

 

This rule introduces:

  • An approach involving informed consent or decision, based on a transparency obligation on protest committee members to declare any possible Conflict of Interest, and allowing:

-       the parties to consent to that member continuing to hear the protest (regardless of how significant or severe the Conflict of Interest may appear);  or

-       the protest committee to decide that the Conflict of Interest is not ‘significant’, and having the member continue to hear the protest.

  • The notion of significance of a Conflict of Interest, so that only those members who the protest committee decides have a significant Conflict of Interest are excluded from hearing a protest.
  • Mandatory considerations for protest committees in deciding whether a Conflict of Interest is significant;
  • A requirement that Conflict of Interest declarations [and any consent by parties or protest committee decision on significance] shall be included in the protest committee’s written decision to facilitate review and appeal.
  • A special provision for World Sailing major events or other major events, that significance shall not be considered and no person who has a Conflict of Interest shall be a member of the protest committee.

Rules 60.2 and 60.3 about the acceptance of reports as the basis of protests merely substitute the phrase ‘person with a conflict of interest’ or ‘interested party’, with no change in meaning.  Rule 60.4 now similarly prohibits a Technical Committee from relying on a report from a person with a Conflict of Interest

 

Reasons for Changes

 

The reasons for the changes are set out in WS Submission to Council 203-15, including:

2. A ‘hard line’ rule on conflict of interest is not practical at all events, especially for club events that depend on volunteer members and others who frequently have some degree of conflict. The submission reflects the reality and as is therefore a significant improvement over the current rule. The new rule will also cause protest committees to address the issue of conflict more frequently.

 

3. The current ISAF Conflict of Interest Guidance that applies to ISAF Race Officials recognises the need for some flexibility to suit different events. This submission is consistent with that guidance.

 

4. The proposal introduces the concept of the parties being able to consent to the protest committee members, having been fully informed of the conflict.

 

5. The protest committee may also decide that a conflict is not material, depending on the level of conflict and the level of the event. A Case will be drafted to help interpret ‘material’ as it would be too cumbersome to include all the considerations in the rule itself. Some of the concepts from the currently approved Conflicts of Interest Guidance administered by a working party of the ROC will be used to ensure consistency.

 

6. The definition of Conflict of Interest is not limited to protest committee members but applies to all race officials.

 

7. There is no doubt that this area is extremely difficult to be definitive. Except for very clear cut situations, almost every situation is different. The Rule 69 Working Party, who prepared this submission, firmly believe that the submission is far more aligned to the real situation than the current rule.

9. In 71.1 a higher, less flexible standard is applied to those deciding an appeal that might otherwise be permitted in the proposed rule 63.4. There is no change in standard from the current RRS.

 

Implementation by Protest Committees

 

The requirement for members of protest committees to declare any possible Conflicit of Interest (referred to as ‘self-interest’) was introduced into rule 63.4 in the 2013 rules, but may have been overlooked by protest committee members and chairs.  Under the now formalised consent or decision process, it assumes critical importance and must be complied with and documented.

 

2017 Rule M2.3 Assess Conflicts of Interest has been added to Appendix M Recommendations for Protest Committees, to support and guide protest committees.

 

The Protest Form in the 2017 rules has also been amended to include recording of objections and decisions about Conflict of Interest.

 

So, if protest committees use the current Appendix M and the Current Protest Form page 2, they will be guided through the requirements.

 

Note that WS intends to publish a case or cases amplifying Conflict of Interest issues in the near future.

 

Taking advantage of the Changes

 

The changes to the rules about Conflict of Interest are intended to provide a relaxation of a previously inflexible rule.

 

While race committees and organising authorities, in assembling protest committees and protest committee chairs (and indeed, desirably, all protest committee members) in preparing for hearings, should pay attention to requirements to identify and declare Conflicts of Interest, there is no requirement to devote significantly more resources or concern to the issue than previously, just because there are new words in the rules.

 

In particular, at club level the rules now permit, for example, an ‘elder statesman’ of the class or club, who the parties might be satisfied will act impartially, to, if the parties consent, sit on a protest, even though he or she competed in the race.  The same might apply to the parent or relative of a junior competitor.

 

If, however, a party objected, it would probably be unwise for a protest committee to decide that a competitor, or parent of a competitor did not have a significant Conflict of Interest, although a protest committee might decide that the Conflict of interest that a competitor who was well out of contention for race or series prizes was not significant.