Saturday, August 22, 2015

IRDP Appoints Cory Faniel As New Director: Interview

In a statement released at 11 a.m. EDT, the IRDP announced that Sequoia Thomas would be stepping down as director (though staying on as board president) and replaced by former Expansion Chair Corentin ‘Cory’ Faniel. The IRDP also announced that, as they undergo structural changes and discussions with the IQA about incorporating within them, they will not be renewing any contracts. We sat down with Faniel moments after the announcement of his appointment and discussed the future of the IRDP.
Quidditch Post: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be running the IRDP?
Cory Faniel: It feels like a big responsibility. I have experienced firsthand what we have achieved; I know what our volunteers could still achieve, and it is a daunting task to face. But I am happy to continue serving quidditch at an international level and am looking forward to implementing new ways to improve quidditch refereeing worldwide. It doesn't change much to what I used to do except for the level of responsibility and taking decisions that will sometimes be unpopular.

QP: What achievements of the IRDP are you proudest of from the first year?
CF: I should probably say the workshop in London; though I was not there myself, I have been led to believe this was helpful and interesting for everyone who attended. However, the simple fact that we were there to support the effort of multiple leagues in referee development and allowed them to focus on other issues at hand is, in my opinion, a big deal. We have seen at tournaments that referees with some level of certification [are] necessary and made the game more pleasant for players.

QP: Where do you hope to take the IRDP in the next year?
CF: The key word here is training. We want to find a system that enables us to train referees more than certifying them and to help leagues slowly advance towards their own system of certification whether it relies on our tests or not. The IRDP was created as a solution for leagues to benefit from the experience of our volunteers in the chaos that would follow from the IQA/USQ split; it now needs to move away from this primary mission.

QP: Let's talk about leagues how does the IRDP intend to negotiate with leagues that aren't contracting the IRDP yet? For example, USQ what do you hope to offer them that can get them to convert to an IRDP contract?
CF: We work with leagues that want to use our services. If a league does not want to work with us, it is not up to us to convince them to do so. Our goal is to serve the community, not rule it; if you offer sweets to someone and they say "no thanks,” you don't shove them down their throat.

QP: The press release announcing your new position also mentions incorporating within the IQA could you give us some more details on an ideal situation for the IRDP should talks go successfully? Does it include helping the IQA to release and update a regular international rulebook?
CF: The IRDP was never [intended] to be a rules team. We would enjoy closer collaboration with the IQA Rules Team as a way to prepare referees better for coming changes and international rules, but creating the rulebook is not our task. I cannot disclose what our ideal situation within the IQA would be, as it will depend on discussions yet to be held.

QP: Currently, the IRDP is not renewing contracts. Where does this leave a body like QuidditchUK, who now have nobody to certify officials with the season about to begin?
CF: Depending on how talks with the IQA evolve, we have envisioned a variety of plans, so there is no straightforward answer to that question. We are changing the way we work, which will inevitably delay some projects, and the details of these change are being discussed with the league representatives. No renewal of contract does not mean we are abandoning the leagues we have collaborated with in the past.

QP: When can people expect an outcome from these talks, with the start of many seasons imminent worldwide?
CF: If it only depended on me, I'd say tomorrow. That'd be ideal, right? Sadly, it is not entirely under my control. It depends on how [quickly] the IQA [makes] a decision. I hope this will be settled by the end of September, and we can all keep working (almost) as if nothing had changed.

QP: Finally, what do you think the biggest challenge for the IRDP will be over the next year?
CF: [The biggest decision will be convincing] everyone we did our best and made the right choices. There will be many challenges, some inherent to quidditch like finding more volunteers. But if people do not believe in our decisions, that will not even be relevant.

QP: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me, and well done again on becoming the new director!

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