Monday, 27 December 2010

A shortage of arbiters

Within the last 3 weeks I was asked whether I would be able to be an arbiter at 3 different tournaments. Two of those requests were as last minute fill-ins, while the other was further down the track. Unfortunately I had to say no to each request, as they clashed with prior commitments (which was a shame as I would have liked to do at least 2 of them).
The requests came from a couple of fellow (senior) arbiters, and during the discussion we agreed that there is a pretty small pool of arbiters in Australia to call upon. This partly explains why the same faces keep popping up at the 'big' events, although organiser preferences also play a part.
While there may be a few reasons why there aren't more arbiters in Australia, I would like to focus on one reason. I believe the lack of arbiter accreditation in Australia has a lot to do with the problem. Without accreditation there is no impetus for arbiter training, and there is no way that organisers know who is qualified to run their tournaments (apart from word of mouth). More importantly, the lack of accreditation also leads to a situation where potential arbiters are left behind/ overlooked as they themselves don't have a yard stick to measure themselves against. There may be a number of people who could do a good job of being an arbiter, they just don't realise it.
Of course the sensible solution is to have an arbiter training and certification program, as many other countries have, but movement in this area has been somewhat glacial. For the moment the training seems to be left with local clubs, with a belief that arbiters will just bubble up to the higher levels. From my experience this hasn't really happened, and therefore a new approach is what is required.


Garvin said...

For me, this is an extremely sore topic.

Shaun Press said...

And a formalised training and testing process might make it fairer for you in this regard. As President of the CAQ I assume you've discussed this issue with th ACF. If not maybe you should think of pushing them in this direction.

Denis Jessop said...

By a "shortage of arbiters" I take you to mean a shortage of accredited arbiters, that is, those accredited by FIDE. Likewise Australia also has a shortage of FIDE accredited coaches and of FIDE Grandmasters.

The reasons in each case are similar. There are insufficient people in Australia qualified to grant accreditation of arbiters and coaches were a local scheme to be set up and an insufficient number of strong players to allow a reasonable path within Australia to the top FIDE playing title.

I believe that Gary Bekker, as Oceania President, was going to arrange for one or more FIDE Arbiter seminars to be held in Australia. As you know, it is relatively easy to get a FIDE IA at such a seminar and FIDE qualifications are preferable to local ones. I don't know what has happened to GB's plan now that he is no longer the Oceania President.


Shaun Press said...

I actually think the reliance of FIDE qualifications has been a root cause of the problem, and now they have changed the system (by making it harder), the shortage will only get worse.
While Gary Bekker has stood down as Zone President, the newly formed OCC is looking at setting up a local (to Oceania) Arbiter accreditation system. The intention is to assist the smaller federations, and to provide an entry path into FIDE qualifications. Of course this doesn't exclude the ACF from participating in the scheme, if they so choose.