British Go Association Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct was agreed by the Board of the British Go Association on 25 April, 2022.

A. Definitions

B. Introduction

C. Who the Code of Conduct applies to

D. Standards of Conduct for Members

E. Standards of Written Communications and Use of Social Media

F. Tournament Etiquette

G. Standards of Conduct for BGA Officials

H. Breaches of Code of Conduct

Appendix: Procedures regarding the Code of Conduct

I. Disputes Panel

J. Disputes Committee

K. Procedure for deciding the complaint and any sanctions

L. Relief from sanctions

A. Definitions

  1. Where a term is defined in the BGA’s Articles of Association, that same definition shall apply here.
  2. “Official” means a BGA Director or a member of a BGA Committee.
  3. “BGA Publication” means the BGA website, all paper or email publications sent by the BGA to members, and all postings on social media accounts of the BGA.
  4. B. Introduction

  5. This document sets out the standards of conduct expected of all British Go Association (BGA) Members and Officials in conducting their roles. It is supplementary to the BGA Articles and does not replace them. In any conflict between this code and the BGA Articles, the Articles take precedence.
  6. It is impossible to cover every specific eventuality in this document. Members and Officials should be aware of the spirit of the Code as much as the individual wording of the clauses.
  7. The BGA acknowledges with gratitude that the large majority of BGA Officials offer their services on a voluntary basis and for no financial reward other than reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

    C. Who the Code of Conduct applies to

  8. It applies to all BGA Members, who agree to comply with the Code as a mandatory part of the application for BGA membership.
  9. It applies to all BGA Officials (defined below) because either:
    1. The person is a BGA Member.
    2. If not a Member, the person agrees to comply with the Code as part of being appointed as a BGA Official.
  10. It applies to all participants in tournaments organised by the BGA, because compliance with the Code will be an express condition of entry to BGA tournaments.
  11. Organisers of tournaments other than BGA organised events are free to adopt the Code for their tournament if they wish. If they choose to do so, the BGA recommends such organisers notify players as part of the tournament entry process.
    • BGA Members and Officials remain subject to the Code of Conduct at all times. While most issues at non-BGA-organised-tournaments will be dealt with by the Tournament Organiser, serious breaches of the Code of Conduct by BGA Members and Officials at such tournaments may be referred to the BGA under the procedures set out in the Appendix.
  12. It applies to non-BGA-members who take part in social media forums organised by the BGA, and the rules for such forums will make that clear as part of their policies for users.

    D. Standards of Conduct for Members

  13. Behaviour, including postings on social media (see section E below), which can:
    1. cause gratuitous offence;
    2. injure the BGA, its officials or its events, directly or indirectly;
    3. bring the BGA into disrepute;
    4. adversely affect the rights, values and dignity of others; may constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  14. Normally the Code of Conduct will only take apply to actions taking place in the context of playing Go. However, in particular cases actions taking place in other contexts, if considered particularly egregious, may be regarded by the BGA as breaching the Code of Conduct.
  15. E. Standards of Written Communications and Use of Social Media

  16. Care must be taken to ensure that communications, whether written or on social media, comply with the expected standards of behaviour set out in section C above.
  17. BGA publications (including the BGA website, the British Go Journal and the Newsletter) enjoy a wide readership, including juniors and potential sponsors. They are the public face of the BGA. Thus, publication of material which gratuitously injures the BGA directly or indirectly (including its reputation) in these media may constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  18. Editors and moderators have a responsibility to ensure that the Code of Conduct is publicised to authors and also, as far as reasonably possible, to ensure that material which breaches the Code is not published.
  19. The use of any profane, vulgar, offensive, racist, sexist or demeaning language is prohibited, as are all forms of harassment and/or personal insults.
  20. BGA publications, including Go Talk and other internet forums, are not to be used as a forum for polemics on non-Go related subjects.
  21. BGA publications are not to be used for attacking or criticising individuals: any disputes between individuals must be resolved by direct private communication between the parties, failing which a complaint should be made using the procedure set out in the Appendix.

    F. Tournament Etiquette

  22. This section covers behaviour at Tournaments. It is intended as a guide to good practice, and the occasional infraction will not normally give rise to any disciplinary proceedings. Nevertheless, continual and repeated infractions may give rise to such proceedings.
  23. However, parts of this section are explicit rules. Those have been worded using mandatory language.
  24. During all Tournaments (face-to-face or online), unless specifically permitted otherwise by the rules of the Tournament, players should:
    1. Report game results promptly according to the Tournament Director’s instructions.
    2. Inform the Tournament Director in good time if they know are going to miss a round of the tournament.
    3. Make every attempt to turn up on time for a game – it’s polite to one’s opponent, even though they can start the clock.
  25. During all Tournaments (face-to-face or online), players must not:
    1. Engineer the result of a game so as to benefit the tournament result of one or both players, or of a third party.
    2. Use any form of outside assistance when playing a game (including the use of books, Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), websites, or other players).
    3. Make accusations of cheating or of AI use through any method other than notifying the Tournament Director in confidence. In particular, when online, players must not engage in any discussion as to whether a player is cheating or not. Anyone who sees such a discussion should just inform the Tournament Director.
    4. Make fun of, or be scornful of, any other player’s game.
  26. During Face-to Face Tournaments, unless specifically permitted otherwise by the rules of the Tournament, players should:
    1. Remind their opponent if they notice the opponent has forgotten to press their clock. (It is not in the spirit of the game to win that way).
    2. After the first two moves have been played, not make any unnecessary verbal or written (in the case of online) comment to their opponent whilst it is the opponent’s move.
  27. During Face-to Face Tournaments, unless specifically permitted otherwise by the rules of the Tournament, players must not:
    1. Play casual games in a tournament room while tournament games are in progress if another room is available. It is likely to create noise and distract tournament players.
    2. Comment on a game in progress, or make any form of communication to a player still involved in a game (unless instructed to do so by the Tournament Director).
    3. Do anything likely to distract a player still involved in a game. While casual and brief observation of a game in progress is fine, a crowd gathering round a board is prohibited.
    4. Obscure their opponent’s sight of the board (e.g. by holding a stone in their hand and hovering it over the board while they think).
  28. During Online Tournaments, unless specifically permitted otherwise by the rules of the Tournament players should:
    1. When playing on turn-based servers, not utilise any form of Artificial Intelligence. Other forms of analysis are permitted unless expressly agreed otherwise with the opponent.
  29. During Online Tournaments, unless specifically permitted otherwise by the rules of the Tournament players must:
    1. Adhere to any anti-cheating precautions that the Tournament Director has specified (e.g. video-recording, Skype etc.)
  30. In almost all cases, improper conduct during a tournament will be dealt with by the Tournament Organiser, and the range of sanctions available to the Tournament Organiser should be set out in the Tournament’s publicity material.
    1. The BGA recommends that Tournament Organisers give themselves the power to impose sanctions including a time penalty, loss of the game, and exclusion from some or all of the remainder of the tournament.
    2. The BGA expects that formal complaints under the Code of Conduct regarding conduct at tournaments will be rare as most matters will be dealt with by Tournament Organisers.
  31. G. Standards of Conduct for BGA Officials

  32. All BGA Officials are representatives of the organisation and must ensure that their actions do not:
    1. cause gratuitous offence;
    2. injure the BGA, its officials or its events, directly or indirectly;
    3. bring the BGA into disrepute.
  33. This includes, among other things, ensuring that the views, rights, values and dignity of others are treated with sensitivity and respect. As ambassadors for the game and for the BGA, officials must ensure that their actions reflect such personal qualities as honesty, empathy, responsibility and good sportsmanship.
  34. BGA officials must ensure that their actions are not influenced by any personal interests or bias. In particular, they should be objective. They must declare to the Company Secretary anything which they are aware of which could be, or be seen as, a conflict of interest.
  35. When representing the BGA at an official event or function, officials must ensure that their actions do not directly or indirectly damage events or discourage sponsors, volunteers and other parties.
    1. Standards of dress appropriate to the occasion should be maintained, including compliance with any applicable dress code.
    2. Official events or functions are not to be used for the promotion of any organisation other than the BGA, any business or other cause without the prior agreement of the BGA Board.
  36. H. Breaches of Code of Conduct

  37. Any person who breaches this code may be referred to the BGA’s Disputes Panel. The procedure for making complaints is set out in the Appendix.  

    Appendix: Procedures regarding the Code of Conduct


    I. Disputes Panel

  38. BGA Members will elect a Disputes Panel of at least 6 Members at the AGM as specified by the Articles.
    1. The Dispute Panel may have more than 6 Members. The minimum has been set at 6 to ensure that a Disputes Committee (see below) of 3 can be formed whose members are all independent of the complaint to be considered.
    2. The Disputes Panel will elect its own Chair, who shall hold office until the next AGM.
  39. Any member of the BGA, or the Board, may submit a complaint to the Disputes Panel contending that the Code of Conduct has been breached.
  40. Complaints must be made to the Company Secretary. An administration charge of £10 is for any complaint raised. This fee will be returned if the complaint is upheld, or if the Disputes Panel consider the complaint to have sufficient merit to have been made even though it was not upheld.
    1. At commencement of the scheme, no administration charge will be payable on making complaints.
    2. If the Disputes Panel considers that the number of vexatious complaints received is at a level which merits making the charge, the Chair of the Disputes Panel will notify the Company Secretary who will announce the introduction of the administration charge to all BGA members.

    J. Disputes Committee

  41. After receiving a complaint, the Company Secretary will immediately refer it to the Chair of the Disputes Panel. Once the Chair of the Disputes Panel has acknowledged receipt of the complaint the Company Secretary’s involvement then ceases.
  42. The Chair of the Disputes Panel will nominate a Disputes Committee, consisting of 3 Members selected from the Panel.
  43. K. Procedure for deciding the complaint and any sanctions

  44. The Disputes Committee will undertake an appropriate investigation. This may include interviewing witnesses, seeking written statements and seeking external expert advice.
  45. Where facts are disputed, the Disputes Committee will make a finding of fact on using the “balance of probabilities” test.
  46. They will then prepare a written Report on the case, summarising the evidence, setting out any findings of facts, and stating whether or not they consider the case proved.
    1. If they consider the case is not proved, they will give their opinion on whether the complaint had sufficient merit for the return of the administration fee.
  47. Decisions of the Disputes Committee will be made by simple majority.
  48. If the case is considered by the Disputes Committee not to have been proven, then this will be reported to the Chairman of the Disputes Panel and to the BGA Company Secretary.
  49. If the case is considered by the Disputes Committee to have been proven, their Report will go to the Disputes Panel.
  50. The Report is confidential to the Disputes Panel. The Disputes Committee will recommend to the Panel if the Report can be published, either in part or in whole. Any decision regarding publication is for the Disputes Panel.
  51. The finding of facts by the Disputes Committee is final, and the Disputes Panel must accept it.
  52. The Disputes Panel:
    1. Can either accept the finding of the Disputes Committee that the Code of Conduct has been breached or conclude that the facts found by the Disputes Committee do not constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct.
    2. If the Disputes Panel agrees with the Disputes Committee that the Code of Conduct has been breached, it will decide what sanction to impose, up to and including permanent expulsion.
    3. As part of deciding on any sanctions, the Disputes Panel will decide for itself the weight which it wishes to give to intent, and/or to any contrition displayed.
    4. All decisions of the Disputes Panel will be made by simple majority. In the event of a tied vote, the Chair of the Disputes Panel will have a casting vote.
  53. The Chairman of the Disputes Panel is responsible for informing the Company Secretary (or, where the Company Secretary is involved in the dispute, the President, or if the President is also involved in the dispute then another Board Member who is independent of the dispute) of the decision of the Disputes Panel, who is then responsible for informing all relevant parties.
  54. L. Relief from sanctions

  55. The decision of the Disputes Panel on whether the Code of Conduct has been breached is final.
  56. If a person who has been sanctioned wishes, they are entitled to seek an EGM (or propose a motion at an AGM if the AGM is due to be held before the sanction takes effect) to pass a motion that the Disputes Panel sanction shall either not be applied at all or reduced to a lower sanction.
    1. All of the rules set out in the Articles and in Company Law regarding the requisitioning of an EGM or proposing a motion at an AGM shall apply in the event of a person seeking such relief from a sanction.
    2. Where the sanction the person seeking relief against was of expulsion, the person shall be treated as a BGA Member for the purposes of requisitioning an EGM and for voting on any motion seeking relief from the sanction but shall not be treated as a BGA Member for any other purpose, unless and until the EGM or AGM overturns the expulsion.
    3. For the avoidance of doubt, the EGM or AGM will not re-hear the Disputes Committee’s determination of the facts, or the Disputes Panel’s decision that the Code of Conduct has been breached, both of which are final. The EGM or AGM will simply be exercising its power to waive entire, or to reduce, any sanctions that have been applied, if a motion to that effect is passed.
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