There has been discussion from time to time (and in various venues) regarding how Mahjong organizations view nationality, and how it impacts the ability and desire to participate in tournaments, from the following angles:
- being able to even apply
- being able to be a representative of X-nation (at home)
- being able to be a representative of X-nation when living in Y-nation (away)
- being able to represent Y-nation when living in Y-nation, and if the person's standing with X-nation even matters
Considering the nature of many future events and current established practices, it will be inevitable that Mahjong organizations will end up presiding over a mess of restrictions that FIFA has to endure for world football. Some countries (and clubs unofficially taking the role of a national organization) are willing to accept anyone, from any birthplace, with any skin colour, as long as they are present on their territory. Others have shown a reluctance to do the same, invoking local procedure and tradition to deny or otherwise discourage people to fully join an organization. And some places without even these kinds of frameworks end up having to develop some ad hoc solution to determine representatives.
What ends up happening is that a lot of people end up falling through the cracks, sometimes for good reasons, often for bad ones. I was going to say that it seemed like a self-evident tenet of Mahjong to want to expand across the globe, implying a universal form of equality, but it really isn't.
- For starters, do we accept that as a premise, and if we do, how do we implement it going forward?
- Is it citizenship or residence that matters?
- How would we deal with people in unorganized countries?
- What do we do with people from organized countries but that live outside the organization's sphere of influence? Is there an acceptable limit to say that X-nation can or cannot restrict eligibility of people who may be at some Z-distance from their sphere of influence?
- How do we deal with "countries within a country" (I guess at the moment, there is no separate organization in the UK), territories and protectorates of a country, etc?
- How do we deal with organizations who render people stateless/ineligible out of spite, malice, or ignorance?
I don't want to go off in too many directions at once, but there was a man I respect who was present at the WRC2014 but was told he was ineligible to participate for reasons that to me seem totally asinine. Who the heck tells Usain Bolt "oh sure, come to our track meet, but don't run, because that would be wrong... oh and don't apply either" and thinks that is in the world-wide interest of the game?
I'd like to know what other people have to say about this. There were 23 countries present last time, it would probably be a good idea to spell this stuff out for the future to encourage a sustained participation of those 23 as well as other nations. I'd love to see at least 30 for next time around.