Connections Online Quiz League - Disciplinary Committee

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Purpose and Scope

1. This document sets out the procedure by which OQL will handle allegations that a player has breached any aspect of the OQL Code of Conduct, as set out at Connections Online Quiz League - Rules

2. Anyone who wishes to raise an allegation that the Code of Conduct has been breached should email with an outline of the allegations and any further supporting evidence for them. Allegations should not be raised on social media and any such allegations on the OQL Facebook page or group will be taken down.

3. OQL has established a Disciplinary Committee (the Committee), with the members of the Committee chosen from time to time by the Commissioner.  The membership of the Committee shall:

a. consist of no fewer than seven people including the Commissioner; and
b. include at least two members who do not set or edit for, and are not otherwise involved in the administration of, OQL, and the names of the members shall be published on the OQL website here:
  • OQL UK: Eleanor Ayres, Hugh Bennett, Innis Carson, Matt Loxham, Nia Roberts, David Stainer and Jon Stitcher

4. these procedures cover allegations against both players and teams, and in the latter case references in these procedures to “the player” should be read as references to the captain of the team concerned.

Informal procedures

5. Where possible and appropriate, the Committee will attempt to deal with matters within its remit informally, through member(s) of the Committee speaking to those making the allegations and the player about whom the allegations are made and, if possible, determining an appropriate way to proceed. All email records of those discussions and any other notes relating to the same will be retained by the Committee on a confidential basis.

6. This will not be possible or appropriate in all cases and in those cases the Committee will follow the formal procedure set out below.

Formal procedures

7. The Commissioner will choose a panel of three of the Committee’s members (the Panel) to hear the case, and the Panel will select one of its members to lead the process (the Chair). No member of the Panel may be associated with the team of the player about whom the allegations are made, or the person making the allegations.

8. The Chair will convene a meeting on Zoom at a time convenient to the player and members of the Panel. The Chair will ascertain if any adjustments to these procedures are required to accommodate any disabilities on the player’s part.

9. At the meeting, the Chair will explain the allegations to the player and discuss the evidence for those allegations.  The Chair will give the player an opportunity to ask questions, present their explanation of the behaviour which has led to the allegations and respond to any other issues raised. The player may call a witness or witnesses to support their case, and should notify the Chair at least 24 hours before the meeting if they wish to do so. A recording will be kept of the meeting and made available to the player so there can be no dispute about the discussions that have taken place and will otherwise be kept confidential to OQL and made available only to members of the Committee.

10. The Panel may, having heard the evidence of the player, raise further questions with the person making the allegation. The Chair will share any responses to those further questions, on an anonymised basis, with the player, and take into account the player’s responses.

11. The Panel will then determine, on a majority basis:

a. whether or not it considers, on the basis of all the evidence put to it, that the player is significantly more likely than not to be guilty of the alleged breach of the code of conduct having regard to all the evidence; and
b. if it considers that the player is significantly more likely than not to be guilty of the alleged breach of the code of conduct, what the appropriate sanction should be. Sanctions may include a first written warning as to the player’s future conduct, a final such warning, suspension from OQL (or specified OQL competitions) for a specified period of time, or expulsion from OQL for life. They may also include overturning the result of OQL game(s) in which the misconduct occurred.

12. In reaching its decision the Panel will take into account findings of the Panel (including as to sanctions) in previous cases if and to the extent that it considers the cases are comparable. The Panel may, but is not required to, take into account how OQL has dealt with previous cases before the establishment of the Panel.

13. The Panel may (but is not required to) take account of any findings against the relevant players in other quiz competitions, if those findings relate to matters which are in the Panel’s decision similar to the OQL-related allegations being considered it, and the Panel is confident that the findings in the other competition were reached in a robust way.

14. The Panel will summarise its findings in a written note which will be emailed both to the player and the person making the allegations in question within five working days of the conclusion of the processes outlined at paragraphs 8 to 10.

15. A player will have the right to appeal any decision made by the Panel within two working days of receiving the written summary of the Panel’s findings, by submitting their objections to the decision to the Chair.  In that case, a second set of Committee members, containing no members of the original Panel (the Appeal Panel), will be selected by the Commissioner and will review all the papers relating to the decision by the original Panel and, if it satisfied that the decision of the original Panel contains a clear and obvious error, the Appeal Panel will substitute its own decision for the decision of the original Panel.  Otherwise, the Appeal Panel will uphold the decision of the original Panel.  The decision of the Appeal Panel will, in either case, be final.

16. The Commissioner will agree with the members of the Panel (or, in the case of a successful appeal, the Appeal Panel) the wording of a short announcement to be published on the OQL Facebook page, summarising the facts, the Panel’s decision and its reasoning for that decision. That summary will be published on an anonymised basis, unless all members of the Committee unanimously agree that, exceptionally, the person who is the subject of the post should be named. Comments on the post will not be permitted.

17. If a player about whom allegations are made decides to cease involvement with OQL rather than attend a meeting with the Panel, the Panel will be free to draw adverse inferences from that decision, and will make findings about how it would have proceeded had the player wished to remain involved with OQL.

18. In cases where the Panel (or Appeal Panel) considers that it is not significantly more likely than not that the player has breached the Code (and hence does not uphold the allegation) it reserves the right to give advice to the player on how to avoid such allegations being made in the future.

19. All papers relating to this process will be retained by the Committee on a confidential basis.