Four teams were disqualified from the NICKO and NICKO Plate this year, a fifth had a player removed from their roster. One team withdrew from the Garden Cities Final. In all cases it was for the same reason which was registering and/or playing an ineligible player.
The tournament committee decided that if a club has registered an ineligible player then that player will be removed from the team. If the player has played one or more boards in the competition then the team will be disqualified. Any master points from previous rounds will not be awarded. Usually in such circumstances it will only be possible to disqualify and re-instate their last opponents.
For 2016/17 the Tournament Department will check all members of teams in the NICKO before the draw for Round 1. Players added to teams during the season will also be checked. The same will apply to the NICKO Plate. Team rosters will also be checked for the Regional and National Finals of the Garden Cities Trophy. Counties usually run their own competition to qualify a club for the Garden Cities. Please see the paragraph below.
To avoid a problem a club needs to ensure that any person representing a team is a member of the club. Until now they must have been a member for three months before they represent the club but for 2016/17 onwards they must have been a member for three months prior to the closing date for entry and must retain that membership throughout the playing season. For the Garden Cities it is open to counties to decide the membership criteria for playing in a team in the county event but any player representing a club in the regional or national final must abide by the same membership rules as above.
The test of valid membership will be an appearance on the EBU database as being a member of that club. Clubs are therefore required to ensure that their EBU database entries are up to date. Some clubs have their own database in addition to the EBU one. That is, of course, up to them but does not remove the requirement of this paragraph.
The aim of the regulations is to ensure that these are truly representative events and previous discussion, especially about the NICKO, has revealed a number of clubs unhappy that some seek to play for clubs of which they aren’t truly members in order, perhaps, to produce a strong team.
Entries for the NICKO are open now – see here for details