I have just returned from the Winter Games in Salt Lake City where I was exposed to the Judging controversies caused by Conflict of Interest accusations against Judges.
ISAF started several years ago to implement Conflict of Interest Regulations and I along with Ken Ryan have been the premier authors of this initiative.
It has caused great negative responses from ISAF IU's/IJ's and personal attacks.
The problems in Salt Lake have confirmed that ISAF was right to implement these restrictions. In fact when I explained to the IOC President, Dr. Jacques Rogge, what ISAF had implemented he was very complimentary and wished other Federations had been so forward thinking. I told him that ISAF would further tighten the Conflict of Interest restrictions as it has been proven that perception is everything and that there must not be even a shred of evidence which could expose ISAF to any negative media scrutiny.
There may be a rebuttal that Sailing is not a judging sport. ISAF should do everything possible to make sure that it does not become one but areas of our sport are. Match Racing and the policing of Kinetics have introduced a judging aspect and the protest room has always had a judgmental component.
ISAF should make sure that Judges and Umpires have a minimal effect on the outcome of a race and where there must be a judgmental component to ensure that NO conflict of interest is either there or perceived to be there.