Wrestling News

Future Of British Wrestling To Be Debated In Parliament

Cara Noir and Rhia O'Reilly with APPG

There’s been a major breakthrough in the fight to improve safety in the British professional wrestling scene, as the future of British wrestling will be debated in Parliament.

In a statement issued to Inside The Ropes from the APPG, the debate was confirmed.

“The APPG on Wrestling is delighted to announce that following the release of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Professional Wrestling in Great Britain report, group Co-Chair Mark Fletcher MP has secured a Parliamentary debate on the subject. This parliamentary event will allow Mark and other MPs to highlight some of the recommendations of the report and to understand the Government’s initial positions and intentions as regards implementation of the findings.”

The debate will happen on Thursday 22nd April just before 17.30pm and can be watched here.
The news comes after a report from an All-Party Parliamentary Group recommended that wrestling “should be classified as sport within training schools.”

The inquiry recommends that wrestling training schools be considered as “sporting” – whilst shows and promotions will instead be considered “theatrical”, “artistic” or “performative” – with the APPG urging the Arts Council and Sport England to do the same. The industry is currently rather broadly classified under entertainment.

The MPs involved stated that classifying professional wrestling as both a sport and entertainment will help to increase health and safety as well safeguarding in the discipline, with the inquiry finding that health and safety standards across wrestling in Britain are “worryingly low” as they sough designation.

The importance of wrestling schools being considered a sport relates to a planned change in the law regarding the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The change would close a loophole regarding relationships between people in positions of trust and minors in sport. If wrestling schools are considered a sport, they’re covered. If not, the loophole still exists in the industry.

Meanwhile, shows being considered theatrical would open the door for potential funding similar to other forms of performative art.

The full report can be viewed here.

In September, an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was formed following the Speaking Out Movement. The aim of the APPG is to make the wrestling industry a safer space for everyone involved.

“The purpose of this inquiry is to investigate and evaluate the current successes, challenges and potential improvements that could be made to the professional wrestling industry in Britain.”

The notice of inquiry stated that it addressed three issues.

The first being the current status of British wrestling, the contribution it makes to Britain and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its success. The second is to review whether the current law and regulations governing the industry are fit for purpose, and to uncover models of good practice. The third is to make recommendations rooted in best practice where possible, for frameworks to improve, or measures to support, the industry.

In addition, it’s stated that the MPs want to know what practical measures might be put in place to make wrestling an attractive feature of Britain’s offer to the world post-Brexit.

Alex Davies-Jones MP, APPG co-chair said: “Our wrestling scene is a focus of world attention, and rightly so. Not only should professional wrestling be more widely promoted and understood, it should be supported. From Government to organisations like the Arts Council, we will be leading the parliamentary charge for a public love of wrestling.”

You can read the entire inquiry below.

The APPG sees the Labour Party’s Alex Davies-Jones and the Conservative Party’s Mark Fletcher, among others, working together. The group will investigate and evaluate the state of the wrestling industry in Britain. Yesterday, both politicians met with British wrestlers Cara Noir and Rhia O’Reilly.

“From Bingo Halls to backroom brawls, British wrestling before the pandemic hit, was thriving in venues across Britain” said APPG co-chair Mark Fletcher MP. “Professional wrestling is the hidden jewel in Britain’s entertainment industry”. “It needs and deserves our support. We want to hear from fans, wrestling talent, promoters and others what their views are on how we can support the industry”.

A Twitter account has been created for the APPG, where the entire written inquiry can be read, and where updated will be posted.