RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly has responded to criticism of the Association over the cancellation of this summer’s British Pipe Band Championship.
Mr Reilly expressed his bitter disappointment at the unprecedented call off and re-itereated the Association’s determination to put things right for 2024.
He said: ‘At the last meeting of the Board of Directors the difficulties surrounding the British were discussed fully. We realised the gravity of the situation and formed a committee to look at it in detail. It comprised members from various branches, and the sub-group was to report back to the board as soon as possible.
‘We approached lots people including several current promoters of our other championships. We were speaking to the organisers at Cowal only a week ago.
‘We travelled to venues and held site meetings. We tried very, very hard to overcome this difficulty. Bands and the pipe band public understand that money is very tight among our local authorities. They are facing cost-cutting on a huge scale.
‘We offered them very good prices, indeed our charges for hosting a championship have not risen in 10 years. I have been involved with the RSPBA for 42 years and not known a situation like this.
‘When it came to spreading the various grades round minor contests we ran into other problems. The logisitics for some were too great. Then there was the knock on effect on other minor contests.
‘They were worried bands would pull out in favour of the minor staging the championship. This was particularly the worry in regards to the lower grades. These grades are the life and sole of minor competitions.
Remaining Major Championships
UK, Lurgan, Northern Ireland, June 10
European, Aberdeen, June 24
Scottish, Dumbarton, July 29
Worlds, Glasgow, August 18 & 19
‘The decision to cancel this year’s British was done with a heavy heart but the Board of Directors was unanimous in its view. We had no alternative.
‘Having said that we are not complacent and will be working day and night to ensure the British returns in 2024.
‘As regards the Champion of Champions, we will obviously have only the four qualifying events. I do not believe that this devalues these awards. Bands that are successful over the four remaining majors will still be the best in their grade and can be proud of their achievement.
‘In closing I would like to thank everyone for their understanding at what has been a very difficult time for the Association. It is a setback, of that there can be no doubt. But we must not let it cloud our approach or enthusiasm for what I am sure will be a very enjoyable and successful 2023 season.’
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