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Swedish Kennel Club uproar

Issue: 09/06/2017


Another social network rumpus emerged earlier this week as news emerged that the Swedish Kennel Club was to initiate further checks on prospective judges, even though they were from fellow FCI countries. It is thought that this new protocol had been unofficially leaked and then shared extensively on social media.
The website of the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK) now contains a questionnaire for people invited to judge in Sweden who are not themselves based in Sweden. This questionnaire applies for judging appointments made after 1st January 2017.
However, the questionnaires of judges from a large number of countries have been exempted from having to be submitted to the SKK and these can instead remain purely in the hands of the inviting society. This immediately led to an outcry of complaints from judges in countries which were not on the exempted list with some judges saying that this was a form of 'discrimination'.
The form
The form lists the breeds to be judged at the Swedish show and poses the following questions:
  • What is your general background and experience in dogs? For example breeding, dog sports, handling etc.
  • When and in which country did you get your first authorization as a show judge? What breed?
  • When and where did you get your authorisation to judge the above breed/breeds?
  • To what extent have you judged the above breed/breeds previously? Where, when and how many?
  • Have you judged the above breed/breeds outside your home country? Where, when and how many?
 Elsewhere on the SKK Website the following notice appears:
'If the overseas judge is from one of the following countries, the inviting club's own review is sufficient: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bel-gium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Spain,  South Africa, United Kingdom, and USA.
'If the judge comes from a country not listed
 above and the invitation is made after January 1, 2017, the SKK Judges Committee shall, through a specially appointed working group, conduct a review and approve the intended judge before the invitation can take place."
Social network went into overdrive as people shared the list of countries, saying that the Swedish Kennel Club's approach is discriminating against judges from certain countries which are actually fully fledged members of the FCI.  These for example would appear to include judges from:
the FCI European Section -  Belorussia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Gibraltar, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
the FCI Asia Pacific Section  - China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
the FCI Americas and Caribbean Section - Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and  Venezuela       
It was suggested by various people online that Sweden was now making its own rules and yet it is part of the FCI and is therefore obligated to accept all judges within the FCI umbrella regardless of colour, sex, race or nationality. Others said that all FCI judges are equal and that no one has a right to say that one judge has made a bad decision as judging is based on opinion. The working party that was to evaluate judges consisted of a number of highly qualified Swedish judges.
OUR DOGS COMMENTS: It has long been known that a number of prominent dog people in Sweden have been concerned by the suggested or apparent lack of qualifications of certain judges from certain  FCI countries who have been invited to judge at some shows in Sweden. 
This concern has not by any means applied to every judge from these countries, but it has applied to some. Similar concerns were expressed in the UK when the Kennel Club introduced its original ill fated FCI Reciprocal Judges agreement which had been negotiated by the then KC Judges Sub Committee Chairman, now KC Chairman, Simon Luxmoore. 
That KC/FCI agreement has now been scrapped and replaced by a system whereby a judge's experience in a breed has to be submitted to the KC for approval of the appointment, as reported previously in OUR DOGS. 
Contributors on social media wondered about the basis on which countries were selected for the 'exempt list' or not as the case maybe. It has to be assumed that the Swedish Kennel Club has perhaps selected the countries whose judges have to be subjected to its detailed central scrutiny, based on criteria such as the number of dogs registered, the size of shows and the type of judge training and approval procedures in the country concerned. 
It will be interesting to follow the actions if any, which will be taken by the FCI, in the light of this departure from the normal blanket acceptance by all FCI member countries, of judges from any other FCI country. It is believed that this blanket acceptance is a convention but is not written formally into either the FCI's Statutes or its Standing Orders.
 The Swedish Kennel Club is on record on previous occasions as saying that it has been a member of the FCI for more than 80 years since 1934 and that throughout all of that time it has, as a loyal member, always respected, followed and implemented the various regulations and other directives of the FCI.


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