Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Changes in RRS 69; part One

In the new RRS 2013-2016, Rule 69 has been extensively rewritten.

The main differences are:

  1. It is now written in the rule that competitor may not commit gross misconduct - and for the purpose of this rule - what a competitor is.
  2. The standard of proof in rule 69 hearings has been changed - in line with the doping rules and the practices of the CAS.
  3. National Authorities have no longer a choice, they must start an investigation if they receive a report involving a rule 69 case.

Let's start with the first difference:
The change in wording makes it clear that committing gross misconduct breaks a rule in the RRS - something that was previously implied - but not actually written in so many words. And since 'breaking a rule in the RRS equals a penalty' is well established in other rules, the rule is now more consistent with the rest of the book.
It is now also made clear what is meant by 'competitor' in the rule 69:
Throughout rule 69, ‘competitor’ means a member of the crew, or the owner, of a boat.
There seems to be a typo in this sentence? Should it read 'or a boat'? Or perhaps the comma is misplaced and the sentence should read: 'or the owner of a boat'. I'll leave that one up to the rule makers…..

Several people, to whom I've had contact about this rule, expressed their disappointment that this last change is not nearly far (or good) enough.
Originally in the submission this sentence was:
For the purposes of rule 69, a competitor includes a person in charge, a boat owner and any other person who has agreed to be governed by the rules.
Let me put it this way, in asking this question:

If a parent of a sailor misbehaves, or a coach does something that is absolutely considered misconduct, can the PC or Jury start a rule 69 hearing? 

With the wording used in the original submission you could make an argument that a coach or parent - simply by participating in the event - had agreed to be governed by the rules. And if you think that's not enough, an organization could have - before giving permission to go on the water and registering as a coach - included a statement to be signed by the parent of coach, in where he or she agreed to be governed by the RRS. Then rule 69 could have been used in dealing with misconduct by such a person.

In the wording as it is written now in the RRS 2013-2016, no PC or Jury can do anything against a coach or parent who misbehaves. They can only conduct a hearing if it involves a competitor.

In light of recent events in the Netherlands - where a volunteer officiating at a soccer match, was attacked and killed by supporters - this seems to be a missed opportunity. Not that a PC should deal with such an excess.

But to be able to adequately respond to misconduct by anyone involved in sailing, wouldn't it have been better to have the PC or Jury deal with gross misconduct at an event? I'm not saying that respect for officials (who are mostly volunteers) shouldn't be encouraged by other means. But if we want to prevent our sport to slide off, with the growing trend of abuse in society, we need adequate procedures and rules to deal with anyone at an event. Not only the actual sailors.

And before you tell me that this should be left to the MNA, they cannot act under the RRS either. Only after receiving a report involving a competitor, they can act against a third person

Next time, the second (major) change in rule 69: 
What does 'comfortable satisfaction' as standard of proof mean? 


  1. Jos

    There isn't a typo in the definition of 'competitor'. If it was "or a boat" that would define 'a boat' as a competitor, but boats can't engage in gross misconduct, only humans can.

    Likewise there is nothing wrong with the comma where it is: where it is the sentence has the same meaning as "a member of the crew of a boat, or the owner of a boat". Without the comma it is not clear what the 'crew' belong to.

    Greatings of the season

  2. I presume that we will be seeing some creative interpretation of the term crew. Already, by distinguishing between crew and owner, the rule admits the possibility that a person who is not on board can be dealt with under rule 69 (otherwise the term owner would be redundant).

    Some questions:

    - in a youth regatta is the responsible adult for each sailor, without who neither boat nor sailor can compete, part of the crew?
    - in a big boat regatta is the shore support team, or the crew of the support boat out on the water, part of the crew?
    - when a number of sailors are being coached, and the coach is on the water with spare parts, clothing and food, is the coach part of the crew?

    The answers to these questions could greatly restrict or broaden the application of rule 69.

    Another point - what will be the link between this version of rule 69 and the proposed new ISAF disciplinary procedures?


  3. Unfortunately, it seems that perhaps the nice lawyers got involved and that ISAF may have realized that it didn't have leverage against coaches, who have not bound themselves by the rules. From what Dick Rose said at a talk he gave a couple of weeks ago, ISAF is very much aware of the problem of coach misconduct and will try to find answers during the upcoming quadrennium.

  4. As I understand it the only effective leverage agaist coaches is when access to facilities, such as berthing RIBS, entry to the venue or suchlike, is under the control of the organising authority. The OA can then include in the regulations governing access to these facilities a clause permitting them to withdraw such facilities. Furthermore, the OA can then ask the Jury to ajudicate in any dispute.


  5. I don't understand the statement "And before you tell me that this should be left to the MNA, they cannot act under the RRS either. Only after receiving a report involving a competitor, they can act against a third person."

    There's nothing in rule 69.3(a) requiring a report to involve a competitor, and it allows a National Authority to take action against "the competitor or boat, or other person involved …"

    If the offending person is not a "competitor" as defined in rule 69.1, it's true a protest committee can't hold a rule-69 hearing on the issue, but they can certainly write up the allegation of improper behavior by a non-competitor and any information they might have and send it as a "report" to their MNA.

    We tend to think of reports to the MNA as coming out of decisions by protest committees, because rule 69.2(d) requires such a report if there's a penalty imposed. But actually, there's nothing in rule 69.3 that requires a "report" to come only from rule 69.2(d). Rule 69.3 says (and has said for as long as I can remember), "When a national authority or the ISAF receives a report alleging …". And, beginning in 2013, rule 69 requires the MNA to investigate all such reports.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...