Earlier this year, KUSA reported on the judgement handed down by the District Court in Dortmund, Germany, which concluded that the Verband für das Deusche Hundewesen (VDH) had violated German and European antitrust laws by seeking to restrain the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (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 decision came about as the result of a legal challenge mounted by three WUSV-affiliated Clubs in various countries against an earlier directive issued by the VDH.
The VDH appealed the Dortmund finding to the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf and, on 7 September 2020, the Higher Court ruled in favour of the VDH, causing the three claimants to lose their case.
In its written explanations of the judgement, the Court emphasised that the regulations – as intended by the FCI from the outset – are in line with competition law, insofar as that they cannot prevent judges from officiating at events outside the FCI sphere, if they do not act in their capacity as FCI judges. Consequently, in their capacity as FCI judges, they are still not allowed to officiate at non-FCI events run according to non-FCI regulations and they are not allowed to grant qualifications, rankings, titles or awards that give the appearance of recognition by the FCI.
In the light of these developments, the FCI clarified the position regarding its Judges as follows:
“The FCI regulations state that FCI judges are permitted to officiate in their capacity as FCI judges and grant FCI-recognised awards/titles at any event organised by an FCI NCO or its affiliated clubs and also at any event organised by an FCI Cooperating partner or its affiliated clubs provided that the responsible NCO has authorised it.
For the avoidance of doubt, judges listed as FCI judges may – to the extent that they do not act in their capacity as FCI judges – officiate at working tests and shows organised by institutions or clubs affiliated to such institutions that do not have any connection to the FCI. As a matter of fact, the judges can officiate at non-FCI events run according to the regulations of the respective institution. However, they are not allowed to grant qualifications, rankings, titles or awards that give the appearance of acknowledgement by the FCI (for example the results and awards obtained by the dogs at such events do not give any right to any future FCI-related registration of any offspring of these dogs). In addition, the judges shall make it sufficiently clear that they do not act in their capacity as FCI judges at any such event.”
Pursuant to the above, on 16 October 2020, the FCI issued Circular 45/2020 which succinctly sets out position relating to FCI Judges:
· FCI show judges are permitted to officiatein their capacity as FCI judges and grant FCI awards/titles EXCLUSIVELY at FCI international events.
· FCI show judges are permitted to officiate at non-FCI events, but not in their capacity as FCI judges, i.e. they are not allowed to grant qualifications, placings, titles or awards that give the appearance of acknowledgement by the FCI and they shall make it sufficiently clear that they do not act in their capacity as FCI judges at any such event.
In the interest of clarity, the FCI General Committee amended its Regulations for Dog Show Judges and re-branded its premier award, the C.A.C.I.B.®, as follows:
- § 11 BEHAVIOUR 2. Accepting assignments was totally reworded and
· any reference to the C.A.C.I.B.® (Certificat d’Aptitude au Championnat International de Beauté) was changed into FCI-C.A.C.I.B.®
Judges are urged to familiarise themselves with the new FCI Regulations and to consult them as a matter of course when accepting foreign judging appointments.