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Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 28 April 2003, 9:46 AM  
Perhaps if any of the Technical Committee read Maptalk....

Considering the furore concerning the eventuating protest yesterday (final day of Anzac),
is there a case for a nominated person, as opposed to the controller, being first point of call for a potential protest applicant?

Would this help to de-politicise/ de-personalise the issue?

Yesterdays protest was obviously justified and upholding the result as of 2/3 days was the right thing to do.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 28 April 2003, 11:13 AM  
Which control was it?

Show Profile  Andrew M Posted: 28 April 2003, 11:32 AM  
The control in question was the 11th for both M21E and W21E courses.

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 28 April 2003, 12:08 PM  
And Brent spiked it!

De ja vu, all over again......

Show Profile  addison Posted: 28 April 2003, 2:07 PM  
So what has happend for results? did Rob J win overall?

Show Profile  Paul G Posted: 28 April 2003, 2:12 PM  
I can understand why a competitor would be reluctant to approach the controller directly, but as the responsibility for the event rests with that official, I think it makes sense for him or her to be the first point of contact.
NZOF Rules are clear: The Controller... To supervise the general organisation of the event and make sure the Rules are adhered to and infringements are brought before the Jury. The Controller shall be the non-voting Chairman of the Jury.

The complaint needs to be lodged within 60 minutes of the complainant completing their course. I am confident that the controller will be available at short notice, whereas an alternative point of contact might not be.

Show Profile  Paul G Posted: 28 April 2003, 2:14 PM  
see the results on the NWOC website Simon

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 29 April 2003, 2:25 AM  
What furore???

The process should work - if a complaint is made to the controller, and is not upheld, you have the right to protest to a jury consisting of supposedly well-qualified individuals from other clubs. That independence should help ensure protests don't become political and personal, shouldn't it?

I think you should spare a thought for the organisers - nobody likes to see mistakes happen, least of all the controller, and perhaps they're entitled to be a little down and grumpy if they find out after the many hours of hard work they've put in a mistake has slipped through.

Without knowing the details on Sunday its a bit hard to comment but knowing who the planner/controller was I find it hard to believe that the issue became personal and political. Anybody care to enlighten me?

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 29 April 2003, 11:34 AM  
When the protest was lodged the controller initially tried to persuade the two protesters from not doing so. This created a rather awkward moment and is, I suspect, why Jamie is suggesting a change.

A fair amount of debate (as you could imagine) had gone on before the protest was officially lodged and the decision was not made lightly. The amount of time and effort of the organisers was definetly considered and it was a prominent member of NWOC who felt the protest was personal and/or political.

As a witness to the whole affair, all the elites involved did want to make it clear that it was not a personal or political attack. The event was part of the super series and the results from that particular day had become meaningless and did not reflect the actual ability of the various elites as some had fluked finding it quickly while others lost a number of minutes.

On a final note, lets not forget that most of the elites would have put in far more hours of training building up to the events than the planners/controllers put in. The elites should have every right to protest without feeling like a big bully or black sheep, especially when the control is blatantly in the wrong place. Besides, what is the point otherwise? Why don't we all throw away our Sport Idents, not worry about timing and award every finisher a certificate?

Show Profile  Paul G Posted: 29 April 2003, 2:15 PM  
This is how the US Orienteering Federation deals with complaints of this nature:

"17.5 When in response to a protest the Jury determines that any of the following conditions have existed for a substantial group of competitors in a class, then the class or course shall be voided.

A control flag is missing. (Section 29.1)
A control flag, the start, or the finish is not within the marked circle or triangle.
A control flag is on the wrong feature. (Section 29.3)
The code at the control is different from that on the control description sheet. (Section 29.7)

17.6 When in response to a protest the jury determines that unfair conditions affected a substantial number of competitors and probably had an impact on the results then the class or course shall be voided.
17.8 When in response to a protest the Jury determines that a rule has been broken and the effect on the results is minor and only a few competitors have been affected, then the Jury may allow, request or require a "Sporting Withdrawal" (SPW) by the affected competitors.

17.8.1 Competitors who have made a "Sporting Withdrawal" will have their results posted as "SPW" and will be able to use their attendance to qualify for ranking (Section 50.11) but will not be eligible for placing or awards at the meet. They may, however, be recognized when appropriate.

17.8.2 Competitors may not elect a "Sporting Withdrawal" (as used in these rules) without the consent of the jury."

- is this an approach the NZOF might consider?

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 30 April 2003, 12:26 AM  
I don't think we need to go to such lengths in our rules.

From the comments, its a shame that the controller didn't void the course and thus avoiding the need for a protest. Our rules are clear that once a complaint is lodged (and was a complaint lodged first?),

27.4 The Controller shall deal with all complaints in a manner that they feel is necessary to ensure the fairest result for competitors

Given the splits show a significant number of elites lost varying amounts of time (and with sportident, this removes one element of subjecture), it seems pretty clear cut that the misplaced control caused an unfair result and the voiding of courses should have occurred without the need to protest.

In answer to Jamie's original question, I don't think there is any alternative to the controller being the contact for complaints and protests - the controller is there to ensure a fair competition and to be the representatives of the competitors (a point often forgotten) in the event organisation. I would suggest in future if controllers try to dissuade you from a complaint or protest that you think is justified, politely point out to them what their role is and quietly walk away and avoid debate.

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 30 April 2003, 2:46 AM  
....Jury determines that any of the following conditions have existed for a substantial group of competitors in a class....

I think this is a ridiculous proposal and would be disappointed if it was used for NZ Orienteering. To only void a course if a substantial group of competitors are affected is wrong. What if a control was wrong in the short distance and the only person who had trouble was Rob J?? Would it be fair to give the title to someone else? I believe it isn't.

The point isn't who is affected or by how much, it is that the course was wrong. I think protesting is the hardest decision to make and is never taken lightly, but it is done for a reason. Orienteering shouldn't come down to luck. A protest in this situation should ensure measures are taken so it doesn't happen again.

I am sure the organisers feel bad about it. There is no worse feeling than people coming back from their courses and complaining about mistakes. Any organiser who has been through this will understand. But if we utilise people who have adequate ability for the task at hand these problems should disappear. I guess we also need to remember that sometimes mistakes happen. We are to small a group to start making enemies over simple mistakes.

I would have also loved to have heard the foul ranting coming from Greg's mouth!

Show Profile  jeffg Posted: 30 April 2003, 4:56 AM  
I think that the rule 17.5 that you quoted is OK in this instance in that it only requires one of those 4 conditions to "exist" for a substantial group of competitors. Even if a control flag on the wrong feature only affected RobJ (for example) the fact that it existed for all competitors running that course means that a protest should be upheld. But a problem with this rule would arise if the control got moved during the race or a cow ate the flag just before Rob J came through as last runner for example. Then the definition of "a substantial group of competitors" would be put to the test.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 30 April 2003, 5:32 AM  
An interesting debate is stirred.

I think it is an interesting point raised by the Honcho that the controller is the competitors representative. Does this reflect reality?

Generally controllers and planners work in close unison and it is the controllers mistake that prompts any protests that eventuate.

Having a designated "Chairman of the jury" as a first point of call would eliminate, the inevitably uneasy discussion with the controller, who as everyone recognises has put considerable effort into making sure such a mistake did not happen, and generally desires that such a mistake is not acknowledged.

Ernest negotiations were happening on Sunday between the aforementioned prominent NWOC member, the controller and various elites in regards to not protesting if an apology was printed in the magazine. In retrospect I don't think this was appropriate.

Except for Paul G's comment that such a person may not be accessible (a situation which can be easily avoided if they adopt the responsibility for being present) I have not heard a reasoned policy argument against my suggestion.

Edited by - jamie on 30/04/2003 13:37:19

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 30 April 2003, 6:14 AM  
Having a chairman of the Jury would not eliminate the inevitable uneasy discussion - it just transfers it from between the protestor/controller to the jury chairman/controller. Furthermore, any jury member should be independent and impartial when considering a protest and if a jury member suddenly has to take up the issue on behalf of the protestor, then their impartiality will be compromised.

In reality very few controllers realise their responsibilities to the competitors. Yes they are too close to the event organisation in many cases. Thankfully mistakes and bad events are few and far between so it doesnt become an issue (too often).

Heres something else to add to the simmering pot. For some time I have felt that controllers of A grade events should be appointed by NZOF and not be from the club organising the event. The only reason I haven't proposed it is cost (NZOF would then have to pick up the tab for the controller) and need (events are in general run OK). However, in an ideal world, such a measure would better serve competitors IMO.

After all, what sport allows the home team to appoint the ref???

Show Profile  Malcolm Posted: 30 April 2003, 7:17 AM  
Does having a home town controller make a difference? If the NZOF has given a controller A grade status, then it should not matter who appoints them to control an event. The NZOF has said they are up to the job.
If controllers are not meeting their responsibility at an event, then perhaps it is the NZOF's fault, and controllers need more (or different) training before being granted A grade status.

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