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A National Qualification Problem?

Could there be some problems on the horizon for the Regionals in Yorks and Lancs?


A National Problem?

Rumours are flying around the banding world at present that the Regional Championships in two areas—namely the North West and Yorkshire may be getting a spanner thrown into their works by the possibility that some of the four bands that have already pre qualified for the National Finals are seeking not to compete at the Areas in 2002.

The unsubstantiated rumours suggest that at least two of the four bands—Black Dyke, Fodens, Yorkshire Building Society and Williams Fairey will be seeking clarification of the existing rules governing the invitation of bands to the National Finals. It is believed that a number of players within the bands find the current situation confusing and unfair in that although their band has already “qualified” for the Final’s of 2002, they are still obliged to go through and compete at their Regional Championships.

4BR understands that the current situation means that legally no band actually qualifies to take part in the National Finals and that in fact an “invitation” is all that can be issued to the bands that come 1st and 2nd at their respective Regional Championships. In addition a further “invitation” is given to the four bands that fill the top places at the previous years Final. This legal position is set in place to protect the organisers in the realms of current civil law.

As part of this “invitation” process the organisers request (although this is not clear to whether this is binding) that the four “pre qualified” bands take part in their respective Regional Championships the following year as to maintain the stature of that contest. It is unclear to whether the organisers can or will refuse to “invite” the four pre qualified bands to the Finals if they did not attend their respective Regional Championships. This it seems is the crux of the matter and something that the bands are believed to want clarified.

The position of the bands involved has yet to be formally substantiated, but the position they are in seems unclear. The two Areas involved are perhaps the strongest in the country and as two bands from each Area have already “pre qualified” there will in fact be four bands from Yorkshire and four from the North West at the Finals come October next year. Understandably it seems that their argument is based on the pure economic fact that they would all have to engage a Professional Conductor (at varying degrees of expense) to take them to a contest they do not have to win—and for very little recompense for doing so.

Why the need if they have already qualified for the Finals? Also, the stature of the contest itself they may believe would be diminished as for example by competing, the two bands in each Area could in fact come 1st and 2nd, thus ensuring that the bands that come 3rd and 4th on the day get to go the Finals—a situation that other Areas may feel absurdly unfair.

In addition if the same line is taken and extended over time, then one Area could in theory find it with four “pre qualified” bands and the bands coming 5th and 6th getting the invite to the Finals.

At present we at 4BR do not know if the rumours will become concrete and that a formal request to clarify the position be made—but it’s something we’ll try to keep you posted on.

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Martin Heartfield

Conductor, Adjudicator, Educationalist