The German Shepherd Dog fraternity worldwide has noted with interest the judgement handed down by the District Court in Dortmund, Germany, that the Verein für das Deusche Hundewesen (VDH) had violated German and European antitrust laws by seeking to restrain the SV from releasing its German Shepherd Dog Specialist Judges to member organisations of the Weltunion der Vereine für Deutsche Schäferhunde (WUSV) that are not members of the FCI’s National Canine Organisations (NCOs) in various countries of the world. This prompted KUSA to seek confirmation from the FCI that, since this ruling was based on antitrust principles, it sought to bring about parity in all groupings’ access to SV Judges, whether German, or otherwise, irrespective of affiliation.
KUSA consulted with the Executive of the Asia, Africa and Oceania (A2O) Section of the FCI and received confirmation that KUSA-affiliated Clubs were equally entitled to apply for, and be granted, SV Judges to officiate at German Shepherd Dog Specialist Championship Shows in South Africa. The President of the A2O Section, Mr Augusto Benedicto Santos III, undertook to state the FCI’s position on this matter in writing and has subsequently provided KUSA with the letter below.
Following the Dortmund ruling, it is now abundantly clear that KUSA-affiliated German Shepherd Dog Specialist Clubs may no longer be denied access to SV Judges and hopefully it won’t be too long before one or more of our Clubs will host a Specialist German Shepherd Dog Judge from Germany to officiate at a Show held under a KUSA-licence!
July 29, 2020
AVAILABILITY OF SV JUDGES TO CLUBS AFFILIATED TO KUSA
I refer to our recent Zoom meeting and thank you for seeking the counsel of the Executive of the Asia, Africa and Oceania Section of the FCI on certain issues affecting the Kennel Union of Southern Africa (KUSA). It was most useful to learn more about the challenges faced by KUSA in South Africa and I hope that Gopi and I were able to make a productive contribution towards addressing some of them.
You raised, inter alia, the issue of the availability of SV Judges to officiate at KUSA-licensed events following the judgement handed down by the District Court of Dortmund, Germany when, on 4 March 2020, the Court confirmed its interim injunction of 12 February 2020 by way of oral proceedings. As you correctly pointed out, the Court found that the instruction issued by the VDH to the SV in December 2019, violated European and German antitrust laws. In essence, the VDH’s instruction sought to prevent the SV from making specialist German Shepherd Dog Judges available to WUSV member Clubs in foreign countries where those Clubs did not belong to the FCI’s National Canine Organisations (NCO).
It is important to understand that the ruling of the District Court in Dortmund did not impinge on, or in any way alter, the entitlement of Clubs of FCI NCOs to have access to SV Judges – German or otherwise – but merely extended the same right of entitlement to WUSV-affiliated Clubs that were not members of NCOs. The prevention of anti-competitive practices obviously works both ways – it empowers a Club affiliated to KUSA, the FCI member, and a WUSV-affiliated Club, equally in their entitlement to apply to the SV, and be granted, the necessary clearance to avail themselves of the judging services of an SV Judge of their choice.
In view of the above, I urge any KUSA-affiliated Club to apply to the SV to host a particular SV Judge in South Africa at an appropriately organised GSD Specialist Show. Should the SV fail to respond positively to such request within a reasonable time, I would be prepared to make the necessary enquiries to establish the reason for the delay and, if necessary, prompt whatever intervention might be required by the FCI on KUSA’s behalf.
I wish KUSA and its German Shepherd Dog Clubs all the best in functioning freely in a deferential competitive environment, as overtly contemplated by the District Court of Dortmund ruling.
Augusto Benedicto Santos III