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2017 Rules Support Persons

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Brass View Drop Down
Really should get out more
Really should get out more


Joined: 24 Mar 08
Location: Australia
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    Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 9:32am

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

 

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



Edited by Brass - 19 Jan 17 at 9:34am
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