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British MPs' report on UK wrestling


Uncle Zeb
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There's been a little talk in the Speaking Out thread about this, but the topics covered are wide ranging and might derail that discussion. If mods believe this separate thread is better suited to the UK Wrestling Events forum then please do move it, though I think and hope it could be of more general interest.

This week an all-party parliamentary group (that is, an informal group of MPs with no collective authority) presented the first report of its kind on the state of pro wrestling in this country, with a view to identifying the challenges the industry faces and the kind of government support it might be entitled to.

It makes a series of recommendations, some aimed at the group's colleagues in parliament, others at the industry itself and its supporters. Topics investigated - taking on board evidence and feedback supplied by academics, fans, promoters, wrestlers and so on - include health and safety, abuse, representation, and funding. There's also a call for improved recording of data to assist with future reports.

One of the biggest attention grabbers amongst the recommendations is the idea of classifying wrestling shows as a performance like theatre, while classifying wrestling training as sport, enabling the latter to benefit from the same resources and safeguarding frameworks as other coaching environments.

I won't summarise everything in the report as, despite its length, it really is worth reading through it yourself. There's nothing else going on in wrestling this week, so you might as well, eh?

Website / Direct link (PDF)

Some background from one of the APPG's co-chairs:

Collection of links to various media coverage:

 

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1 minute ago, theringmaster said:

Also, I'm sorry but it's pretty clear progress and ICW have basically been the main consultants on this and are trying to manipulate to their advantage.

I don't think that's necessarily fair. Just a quick search of the document for some terms reveals that Progress and ICW are both explicitly referenced around eight times, while RevPro get nine or ten mentions. Riptide get more mentions than that, while WAW get slightly less. EVE get a few, but sod searching through every instance of those three letters appearing in sequence. LDN, All Star and Fight Club Pro are mentioned too.

There's also an awful lot of anonymous submissions too. There was an open consultation period, and I don't know how many wrestlers or promoters chose to engage with that, but any who didn't don't have much right to complain if the report hasn't been to their findings.

I'd also like to know what any of this is working out to Progress or ICW's advantage. Even before the report was published, Progress were being pilloried for a lack of transparency and a failure to meet the terms of their existing code of conduct, and I don't see anything changing that here.

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Not really sure what to make of the report, which is apt because virtually every APPG ends up with reports like this which are persuasive but don’t really have any substantive outcome.

There are references to my submission in there, but I think the parts they took note of weren’t the parts I thought would be most useful.

I’ll be interested to see what happens with the debate.

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I think the best we can hope for is creating that distinction between training and shows, so that both are better safeguarded. There's absolutely no chance of any meaningful governing body coming out of this, but I can see some de facto ones coming out that basically agree to a set of guidelines, a pledge and a kitemark.

I know if I ever run shows again, it's given me a lot to think about in terms of what I would change, and probably more significantly in terms of transparency and how I would make some things visible to the fans that wouldn't have been made public historically, and how much will be involved in winning fans' trust. 

I'm pessimistic about whether we see meaningful reform, but I'm hoping that a foot in the door of parliament means that the door is kept open should any follow-up discussions need to happen once shows are running regularly again.

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3 minutes ago, Michael_3165 said:

What's the betting Alex Shane will turn up in a suit somewhere around this?

He will turn up with his BWC black armband on, someone will ask if it is in memory of Prince Philip, and he will say "Prince Philip doesn't get a black armband mate he hasn't learned to bump from Johnny Kickpadz in a youth centre in Bootle, and he didnt pay me the administration fee" 

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1 hour ago, Michael_3165 said:

What's the betting Alex Shane will turn up in a suit somewhere around this?

 

From the report:

[quote]The British Wrestling Council (BWC) is another example. This was established with a view to organising the British wrestling industry and there appears to have been general good will towards its creation. Despite an alleged lack of interest from Sport England, the Council started as a voluntary advisory body, and developed into a kitemarking organisation with criteria for shows including a requirement for insurance, risk assessments, first aid and for schools DBS checks and safeguarding policies. The council then sought to develop a curriculum, syllabus and grading measures to standardise training in schools, thus fostering longevity and potentially expanding interest in wrestling. Trainers would have been BWC recognised and visited other schools for gradings. The proposed not-for-profit was garnering interest from across the UK and overseas and beginning to consider how change might occur, especially for students already advanced in training that might be resistant to grading. It had also organised for specialised insurance which could be purchased through its website, had 100 students following its syllabus and ran an inter-school training convention. Unfortunately, through alleged mismanagement, including falling victim to individual interests, the Council fell apart. Certainly, the history of the council gave witnesses to our inquiry little faith that any form of governance might be possible. “It was a pyramid scheme to make money” one claimed, “a false promise” said another, and various individuals told us their concerns that any attempt at regulation which was not compulsory would simply not enjoy the confidence or compliance from across the industry.[/quote]

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So the 30 minute debate in a nutshell:

MP: "Bobby Heenan was great. British wrestling's really good but it's got lots of problems and it isn't regulated, partly because Sport England don't consider it a sport and the Arts Council don't consider it art."

Government: "Yeah, I hear British wrestling's got really good but isn't regulated. Maybe ask Sport England?"

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2 hours ago, Uncle Zeb said:

The BBC news write up is reminiscent of mainstream media's reporting of wrestling around the turn of the millennium - that it could only be treated as a joke.  Bear in mind this is a BBC article about sexual abuse in British wrestling, yet the journalist couldn't help but get the following lines in:

"MPs grapple with future of British wrestling"

"a report by MPs with a passion for powerslams"

"Mr Fletcher - whose undertaking was inspired by The Undertaker"

"But away from the drama of the duplexes (sic), he said there were serious issues"

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