RYA Case RYA2019-01
Rule 76.1, Exclusion of Boats or Competitors
Guidance on the rule and conditions, and some proper and improper grounds, for excluding boats or competitors.
Rule 76.1 permits the organising authority or the race committee to reject or cancel the entry of a boat or exclude a competitor subject to the conditions that: (a) it must be done before the start of the first race; and (b) they must state the reason for doing so. Can this rule and/or the conditions be changed?
The rule and the conditions may be changed by National Authority prescription, but cannot be changed by the notice of race or sailing instructions or by class rules (see rule 86.1). Furthermore, the particular conditions in rule 76.3 relating to world and continental championships cannot be changed if the stated quota of boats/competitors has not yet been met.

The rule says that the boat, on request, shall promptly be given the reason for the exclusion in writing and that the boat may request redress if she considers the rejection or exclusion to be improper. What might be considered to be ‘improper’?
a) Exclusion of eligible competitors on grounds which would be regarded as discriminatory under the law – e.g. reasons of race, colour, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and age – is always improper.
b) Rejection of an entry because a boat does not comply with her class measurement or related rules is not improper because the rules themselves require compliance. Where the rejected boat corrects the problem within any time limit for entries, the rejection should be reversed if the non-compliance was inadvertent or accidental
c) The rejection of an entry from a boat that, while measuring and meeting the eligibility rules of the event, is considered by the organizing authority to be unsuitable for the conditions likely to be experienced in the event, is not improper.
d) Rejection of an entry based on advertising grounds is improper provided the competitor is complying with the World Sailing Advertising Code.
e) Exclusions of boats or competitors on the grounds of past personal conduct are frequently contentious and often give rise to redress hearings and, sometimes, to appeals where some unpublished guidance has been given regarding what is improper – see Answer 4.

Must the conduct cited as the reason for exclusion have been considered by another body prior to the rejection or exclusion?
No, not necessarily. However, when the conduct cited as the reason for exclusion has previously been the subject of a hearing(s) under the Racing Rules of Sailing or an organisation’s constitution, rules or by-laws or any other appropriate forum, the rejection is unlikely to be improper if the complaint had been upheld in those hearing(s).

What types of personal conduct might result in a claim for redress being an improper reasons for rejection or exclusion?
Redress hearings should be treated as normal based on rule 62.1(a). A number of unpublished appeal cases have dealt with such situations, resulting in the following outcomes and/or advice:
i) The reason for rejection or exclusion should be reasonable and must not be arbitrary or capricious;
ii) A reason for exclusion of ‘concerns over conduct’ was found to be improper, as it was too generic and not based on specific example(s) of personal conduct;
iii) A reason for exclusion of conduct in a situation that arose after the rejection of the entry was found to be improper;

If the claim for redress is upheld, what form of redress may be granted?
If the decision is made before the time limit for entering the event has not passed the redress would, normally, be that the entry be accepted. This redress could also be granted after the entry date has passed unless there is a practical reason why the entry cannot be accepted.
Even if the issue has become moot (for example, the event is now over), redress should still be granted if justified. It is highly unlikely any adjustment to the scores would be a fair arrangement, but the ‘wronged’ boat or competitor is entitled to the decision in their favour being recorded.

RYA 2019
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