Angling: Cash-strapped high-profile tournaments under threat

Andy Murray
Andy Murray
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The future of three first-rate angling events are in danger of falling by the wayside unless funding can be found very quickly.

The events in question are the Ladies, Disabled and Veterans World Angling Championship which are due to take place later this year.

The plan for sponsorship for these events seems to have fallen on deaf ears and the international events manager for the Angling Trust, Barnsley’s Dick Clegg, fears that unless funding is forthcoming shortly then England will not be represented at these three World Championships.

Dick has calculated that at least £10,000 per squad is required to cover the considerable expenses which will be incurred.

I can share his anxiety as, over the last couple of decades, our angling teams, of all categories, have proved themselves to be the best in the World with bucketsful of gold and other medals to show for it.

I cannot understand why every year angling has to get out the begging bowl whilst other sports who do not have a snowball in hell’s chance of winning a thing get Lottery and Government (our) money thrown at them.

One good point is that someone at Sport England has just seen the light and pulled the plug on funding for three sports – weightlifting, synchronised swimming and netball – following years of what I would consider to be poor results.

And a spokesman said recently that in future they would only support sports where we had a good chance of winning.

If that is the case then what is the bias against angling, the most successful of all our sporting teams?

I, personally, know quite a few of the England team and they tell me that they are competing against teams from Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Russia and many more whose governments are proud to do so, unlike ours.

These people are amazed that we, as a sport, have to rely on the generosity of fishing tackle manufacturers such as Peter Drennan and Preston Innovations for funding. The government has thrown millions of pounds at minor sports in the Winter Olympics in Russia but despite the immense popularity of angling in this country they will not give us one penny.

Just think, over the years, how many millions have been given to tennis for instance to produce just one champion who is now cashing in on his success.

What we anglers are asking for is a mere flea bite compared to what the racquet wielders are getting.

In an attempt to raise some funds Dick Clegg has managed to obtain many thousands of pounds worth of prizes from fishing tackle manufacturers all over the country for a huge raffle which will be held at a tackle show at Farnborough later this year.

Anyone wishing to support Dick on his mission – simply selling tickets would be a huge help – he can be contacted on 07534 267512.

Podium placers, first and third overall, Team Don's Steve Lowther and Mirfield's Tony Earnshaw. PIC: Steve Fearnley

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