VFTD has received further communications from Ulrich S. of the MS that clarifies the league's view and offers a justification for their actions after the fact. He reiterated, "Whatever a participant might think, what another participant (player, official, media, vendor, spectator) has said or has not said, will never justify such a deliberate attack. The MS Board will take measures, such malicious assaults will not be repeated by the same persons again." VFTD certainly doesn't have any issues with that and I can't imagine that anybody else does either, but--I continue to question the way it was done. Mr. Stahr continues to insist that there is a distinction between physical contact and physical assault in justifying the banning. If we were simply going by word definitions he would be correct. However, the MS's guide is their rule book, like it or not, and their written definition of 'physical contact' covers this incident.
I could nitpick the rules issues to death but I am confident that it has reasonably been established that the Board's actions were outside the written leagues rules--and that most paintballers aren't all that concerned about it. So why the immediate action? After all, by rule HD was both ejected from Bitburg and suspended for London. That left plenty of time to take a measured by rule approach if the MS decided further actions were necessary. Or for the appropriate commission of the EPBF to meet and respond.
The precipitating events continue to be disputed. Mr. Stahr insists the referee in question did not lie or misrepresent his or HD's action in pulling HD's card. There is also some question as to just when Mr. Stahr appeared on site. (I am trying to confirm these details simply to establish an accurate record.) While those events do not alter or excuse HD's actions they do potentially reflect on the league's willingness to acknowledge some responsibility and more importantly, act to make productive change.
International tournament paintball as exemplified by the MS and the EPBF are attempting to establish recognized institutions aimed at legitimizing paintball as sport to the international sports community. The foundation of this effort is the rules; rules that define the game played and rules that define the institutions themselves. In VFTD's view this is why the league's failure to act within their established rules matters. Hopefully one upshot of this incident is a renewed dedication by the league to actually be what they claim to aspire to.
On the unrelated issue of the incident involving my players I am informed that at least one ref has been identified and the MS is "interrogating" him. Time will tell what if anything comes of this. At a minimum the known ref was plainly intoxicated and that alone is a violation of the standards of conduct taught, according to Mr. Stahr, "in each Euroref Basic Ref Training Course." It remains unclear whether any penalties enforce the standards of conduct. And while Mr. Stahr says the standards of conduct aren't secret they also aren't published anywhere or commonly known to the average participant. Perhaps now would be a good time to remedy that.