Team selection accounts for the majority of the disputes brought forward to SDRCC. There are many ways to prevent team selection disputes from arising and many people have an important role to play in this process:
National Sport Organizations and their high performance committees: Responsible NSOs recognize the importance of a sound team selection policy to ensure that the best athletes are indeed selected for optimal performance of the team, and also to avoid disputes leading up to a major competition. The criteria must also be communicated to the athletes long before the start of the qualification period. The entire training program of athletes will be based on meeting these criteria to secure their selection to the team, so it would be unreasonable to communicate these criteria only a few weeks or a few days before. Of course, once a team selection policy approved and published, the NSO must ensure that it is implemented as intended.
Coaches: Most coaches are very intuitive about selecting the best athletes possible in their sport and it is usually very clear in their heads what athletes need to demonstrate to deserve a spot on the team. However, they must recognize that athletes have a right to know on what criteria their performance will be evaluated (placing or points accumulated at specific events, official rankings, participation qualifying events, etc.) Coaches must use their expertise and technical knowledge of their sport to support the development of clear and comprehensive team selection policies by their NSO.
Athletes: Athletes are responsible for reading their team selection policies carefully to ensure that they understand what they need to do to be selected on the team. If the policy published by their NSO is incomplete, unclear or flawed, they have the responsibility to raise the problems right from the outset. Too many athletes wait until they are not selected to complain about the team policy not being fair. This is disruptive not only to themselves and to their NSO, but to the entire team. When it occurs just before a major competition, it takes the focus away from athletes preparation to perform.
SDRCC has published a brochure entitled "Selection Criteria for Amateur Sport: Guidelines and Tips" to help policy makers design team selection criteria that are likely to reduce the risk of disputes. It is available in the Downloads section.
SDRCC also presented a workshop on team selection dispute prevention tailored especially for athletes representatives attending the Athletes Forum in Whitehorse, Yukon, in September 2007. The report generated from the workshop discussions is available in the Downloads section.