Canoe Polo Referee Training and Exam Grade 3/4

I did the Canoe Polo Referee Theory Course and Exam (Grade 3/4). This is a three hour computer slide presentation taking you over the rules of the game followed by a multiple choice exam. Here’s my notes for my own use and anyone else who is interested.

The BCU Canoe Polo Rules 2013-2015 describe the rules and are mostly accurate and about as readable as they can be. They are based on the ICF rules.

A pitch is 35m x 23m or otherwise in a ratio of 3:2. Water is at least 90cm deep. 4 metres each side of the centre of the goal is the No Waiting Area, subs should stay out of this area. Goals are 1m x 1.5m x 30cm deep and 2m above the water. Marked with red/white stripes.

Ball is size 4 for ladies and junior, size 5 for open competition (these sizes seem to come from FIFA for football).

There can be 8 players on a pitch with 5 in play. A max of 10 is allowed in each team.

Officials needed are: 1st referee, 2nd referee, Timekeeper, 2nd timekeeper (for sending offs), Goal line judge x 2, scorekeeper and scruitineer. In Scotland it’s usually just 2 refs, timekeeper and a scorekeeper.

The timekeeper needs a horn, 2 timers (1 for sending off) and disciplinary forms.

1st referee has overall control, is nearer the officials table and makes any final decisions.

Referees work with lead and trailing, lead to your right so you are inline with the goal on your right if the ball might go into it so you can check it crossed the line. The trailing referee should keep an eye on the rest of play and generally won’t go past the 6 m line.

Player equipment – boats of the same colour, helmet with a guard covering the chin and holes no larger than 7cm. Bumpers should be compressable by at least 1cm with a thumb. Buoyancy aid (body protector) should be 15mm thick with side padding. Numbers should be 10cm high on front, 20cm high on back and 7.5cm on each side of the helmet.

Playing time is ideally 10mins each half with 3 min break. In Scotland Div 4 it’s 6 mins each half with minimal break.

A free throw is given to the team that did not cause the sanction, must be presented, will not have a starting whistle, must be taken with 5 seconds or being in position and can not be shot directly at goal. The ball must travel 1m horizontally. Referee points with open palm in direction of play. They are given for…

  • Start infringement (e.g. two people from same team go for ball
  • Sideline, corner or goal line throw

If the throw is not legal (e.g. no presentation) then the opposing team gets a free throw.

A free shot is the same as a free throw but for illegal play, it can be shot directly at goal. The referee points in direction of play. Given for…

  • Obstruction/holding (touching another boat with hands, touching goalie’s boat)
  • Illegal tackle (at 90 degrees, over cockpit, not in possession of ball)
  • Illegal possession (holding for 5 seconds, paddling with ball on deck
  • Illegal use of paddle (paddle near ball, paddle over bow in reach, paddling off opposition boat)

A goal penalty shot is given when the referee considers a goal the most likely outcome. Taken from 6m with other plays at half way.

A referee’s ball is given when two players are holding the ball for 5 seconds.

A green card is given on any dangerous or deliberate illegal play. A yellow card on 3 green cards or for any dangerous AND deliberate play, the player stays off for 2 minutes. A red card is the second yellow card and the player stays off for this game and the next. When giving a card, call time out, call the player over, show score keeper and player card. When more then 1 player has caused an offense a team card can be give, present to the captain.

The captain should wear an armband.

The referee can call play on if illegal play is observed but the team would be disadvantaged by stopping. After 1 pass the ref can change his mind on this.

The goal keeper is the player most directly under the goal and facing out towards the pitch.

On time out and any time you want to gain control of the players use a triple whistle.

To complete the course and be a qualified Grade 3 referee I need to be observed as referee and have the assessment form filled in.

Andy Jackson Fund for Access

The Andy Jackson Fund for Access is a charity set up in the name of a legendary Scottish whitewater paddler to help the access situation to interesting rivers for canoeists.

Last year a paddler who I respect lots Chris Dickenson posted a rant on ukriversguidebook forum, a common place for people to post rants on. The rant was long but hard to pin down what it was about. One of his concerns seemed to be that the SCA wasn’t giving the money from the guidebooks to the Access Fund as they had pledged.

A quick look at the Access Fund entry on the Charity Regulator website shows that the charity does indeed get income every year but that it didn’t have any outgoings until 2012 and even then only £662 and in 2013 only £500. The only information on the charity is on the poorly maintained Where’s the Water website. There’s no indication of what projects they fund or who their trustees are or who their membership is.

Intrigued I sent an old fashioned letter to the address on the OSCR website asking for their latest accounts and annual report. After a couple of weeks I got the accounts and report ending 31st March 2013 dated December 2013.



As of 2013 there’s 4 trustees, Bridget Thomas (chair), Robin Cole, John Picken (treasurer) and Ron Cameron. Eddie Palmer’s name was on it but has been scored out presumably because he stepped down when he became president of the SCA. Robin Cole was added, presumbly when he took over from Eddy as the chair of the SCA Access Committee. Kenny Biggin stood down, no reason given.

The annual report says they do receive funds from the guidebooks.

The only activity given in the annual report is that two projects were suspended, Kinlochleven and Fort William Tailrace. There’s no indication of what these projects were or why they were suspended.

They have £11,562 in the bank.

The actual accounts do list some more activities. In 2012 there’s two items marked “Steps at Netherton on River Blackwater” and another marked “Steps on the River Garry” and in 2013 one marked “To SCA for Land Reform Consultation”.

And that’s it. No indication that they plan to do anything more with the money they keep receiving from the guidebooks, no modern means of communication like a website or e-mail or even telephone number. No suggestions of what sort of projects they would be wanting to support.

I expect that like a lot of volunteer committees the Andy Jackson Fund for Access is made up of people who don’t have the time or energy to give to the project as it deserves or even to ask for other people who could do so. This is a shame as many people buy the books expecting them to go to good caueses when in reality the money is just sitting in a bank account. Chris Dickenson’s rant that they are not being given the dues they are owned by the SCA is quite defaming and wrong. Many SCA committees are made up of volunteers who do a lot of hard work but then fail to show that by updating their pages on the SCA website (the access committee might well but one of them) with the result that people complain about the SCA don’t care or fund whitewater and only cares about sprint/slalom (which gets lots of funding from SportScotland). Here we have rare funding for whitewater paddling that isn’t being used. The Access Fund would benefit greatly from advertising itself and actively asking people to apply for grants.

Small Claims Court in Edinburgh against Brian Porteous, BJP Properties

A year ago I organised some repairs to the communal parts of the tenement I live in. All the other owners while incapable of organising the repairs were happy enough to pay up once I organised repairs to their property for them. Except property shark Brian Porteous who trades as BJP Properties. Rather than maintaining the property he manages he did some superficial patches on the repairs needed and put his property on the market. He chose not to reply to any contact from any other owner. So in the end I had to sue him by filing a small claims summons.

Scottish courts are not known for their up to date technical know how. You can download the form for small claims summons on the website in proprietary MS Word format. The form badly needs a proofread by the Clear English Campaign, it uses a large amount of legal jargon including places where two obscure terms can mean the same thing. Having printed it off twice I took it into the Clerk to the Small Claims Court and paid the £16, very good value for the service I received.

Some weeks later a letter arrived with a date some weeks in the future. I put all my papers into a folder in a sensible order and went to court on the day. At the Sheriff Court there is minimal notice or information from anyone about what is going on. From a textbook I read once I assumed small claims courts were pretty informal affairs without lawyers but in the court room everyone was wearing gowns and we had to stand for the sheriff who was in his wig. They called up the cases one by one and the gowned lawyers kowtowed to “your honour” and explained their cases, mostly why their clients had decided to drop them. Eventually I got called up and asked what I wanted. Did I want a decree? I said I wanted the court to order him to pay the money I was owned, which turned out to be the same thing. However he had not turned up so the sheriff said in fairness they should reschedule for another date in a few months’ time.

In a few months’ time I was back in the same courtroom as another sheriff went through cases with gowned lawyers until there was just me and a fat man in the seats. The sheriff called us forward and asked if we’d like to go for mediation. I said I’d never had a chance to speak to him despite living next to him for 8 years sharing communal property. Brian said he had this letter from his lawyer and wouldn’t that be enough proof? No it would not said the sheriff, it would need to go to proof if he wanted to argue his case. So we got a date for proof in a few months’ time. In all the forms I had filled in nowhere had it mentioned that the date we got was only a preliminary hearing, sensible enough but seems everyone was confused.

By this time I’d collected some more friendly confirmations from my neighbours and I’d looked up a few more laws and I put together all the papers in a nicer file and handed in copies in triplicate to the court.

A few months’ later I went to the same court and watched a bit of a case involving a car accident, a man was in the witness stand describing what had happened as he drove round a roundabout. After a bit the sheriff called me and Brian Porteous foward and said they wouldn’t have time for us today so we got another date in a few months’ time. The same thing happened a few months’ later.

A few months’ later again I had my day in court, which was delicious. The sheriff had me take the witness stand and asked me about the case. He spent some time getting the whole story of everything I had done and the number of times I had given Brian Porteous time to respond. Then Brian got to question me. He chose to ask if I knew his flat was empty, I said I had no idea as it was not my flat so not my concern.

Then Brian took the witness stand and the sheriff took him through his understanding of the case. I got to quiz Brian on what his understanding of the communal property was and how he expected to maintain it. He said he thought I was in a better place to maintain it as I was living there and I questioned what that meant he did as the director of a property maintenance company. I questioned why his son had not passed on the many e-mails I had sent them and if that meant he was an incompetent property agent. He said he would expect the council to do repairs and I questioned why he expected someone else to maintain his property for him. I also questioned why he had not updated the private landlord registrar, which he said he did not know of any law that required him to.

Finally I got to take the sheriff over the statute law I had dug up which implicated him. I pointed out the Housing Act and the Tenement Act which both require a landlord to maintain their property and I pointed out the Antisocial Behaviour act which require a landlord to update the landlords register. The sheriff said we would receive judgement in the post and scooted off. Brian then asked me “as a man” to take down my previous blog post calling him and his son a property shark. I said I would not as he had shown no indication he needed to maintain the property owned by his property maintenance company. He said he’d call the police and I wished him luck with that. I thanked him for giving me this opportunity to learn lots of the law and what an interesting process it was at which point he made some excuse and walked in the opposite direction.

And then silence, the judgement didn’t come. I popped into the clerk’s office (a hassleful procedure since you need to give up all your power cables at the court entrance presumably in case you garotte someone with the power cable, or maybe try to set anarchy lose by using a non-PAT appliance) but the clerk’s just said it was with the judge. After 2 months I wrote a letter to the judge and a few days later a judgement came in the post.

And alas I lost. The judgement said that Brian had “never had a key giving access to the common stairwell” but I don’t see how this is relevant, if he is incapable of looking after his own property that should not be my concern. And “there is no evidence to indicate that the defender had knowledge of a concluded agreement” but I e-mailed his agent (who is also his son and neighbour). “at best the evidence indicated that cruz property management were e-mailed the quote” well yes, they were his agent, how else was I supposed to contact the guy? “The pursuer is misconceived in his reliance upon the Housing Act and Tenement Act” which in the sheriff’s reading don’t make the landlord liable to me (presumably only to and tenants he rents out to). “The sum sued for is so low that it falls beneath the limit where expenses can ordinarily be awarded”.

This is disappointing but I’m very pleased at putting in a good performance in court, public debate and confrontation is not something I’ve often been very good at but here I held my own under pressure. I learnt about the legal process which was interesting. It is very slow and clunky and not user friendly at all, it feels a lot like the processed is designed so trained lawyers know what’s going on by laypeople find it too daunting to use. Many basic details are not explained anywhere in the application process such as the 2 stage nature of it (initial review then going to proof) or the limits you can claim for expenses etc. Scotland (or at least Edinburgh) badly needs a law which gives tenement owners a duty to the other owners to maintain the property, currently my flat has leaks in the roof which nobody has bothered to fix and nobody seems even capable of looking at them. (How can you be a property agent when you are scared of heights and can’t even look at the roof?) I hope Brian Porteous learnt something about his need to maintain his property but I doubt it.