All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling
THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021
Today I am thrilled to announce that the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling is launching our report which has been six months in the making.
The cross-party inquiry panel, led by All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling co-chairs Alex Davies-Jones MP and Mark Fletcher MP has taken written and oral evidence on the professional wrestling industry from some 80 wrestlers, promoters, ring crew, training school operators, academics, health care professionals and others connected to the British wrestling
The report marks the first time that this unregulated industry which crosses the threshold between sport and theatre has been analysed in a systemic way by parliamentarians, and the first official intervention in nearly 80 years.
- Wrestling has fallen between the categories of sport and theatre, sometimes characterised as sports entertainment. The panel recommends that wrestling training schools be considered as ‘sporting’ and shows, promotions and associated activity be
considered ‘theatrical’ or ‘artistic’ or ‘performative’, in respect of future guidance, legislation and regulation.
- The minimum health and safety standards across independent wrestling in Britain is worryingly low. The parliamentarians have recommended a raft of measures most notably, enhanced requirements under the licencing and insurance arrangements
wrestling companies have in place, and the adoption of concussion protocols. Signed PAR Q fitness forms, guidance from the Health and Safety Executive and minimum first aid training are also recommended.
- Wrestling’s own MeToo movement, known as SpeakingOut highlighted stories of sexual abuse, assault and predation. The report makes a number of recommendations in response to the movement, including hardwiring the voice of abuse survivors into British wrestling, the development of practical guides for first responders and working to establish case management systems to address allegations of abuse.
- Wrestling training schools have insufficient protections in place, particularly given they are regularly working with minors. The report recommends that, as is proposed under current legislation, sports coaches be recognised as a position of trust for the purposes of child sexual offences and that wrestling coaches be considered sports coaches for this purpose. A number of interim steps in relation to safeguarding and data protection are also proposed.
- The wrestling industry suffers from a lack of official representation, and the report recommends the establishment of trade bodies to more effectively promote British wrestling.
- Other recommendations include a call for increased data collection about the industry, appropriate memorialisation of great British wrestling talents building on the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland, work to better understand the gender pay gap in wrestling, infrastructure to support wrestlers working overseas and better measures to accommodate visiting talent, and creating a safety standard for wrestling rings.
In Parliament I chair the group along with Mark Fletcher MP and our comments are below:
“We are delighted to take what we hope will be a first step towards strengthening and improving the British wrestling industry which brings joy to so many people, ourselves included. We don’t do reports that sit on a shelf and look forward putting our
recommendations into action in the coming weeks.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“The Government welcomes the APPG’s report and will be carefully considering its findings. We want to see a successful wrestling industry for its participants and many fans right across the country.”
Shadow Sports Minister Alison McGovern MP said:
“This is a detailed report covering both the performance and sporting aspects of wrestling that many love dearly, but which
also have long standing issues that need attention. The APPG have done a great piece of work here, and I hope DCMS will look at it closely.”
You can read and download a copy of the report here: https://www.alexdaviesjones.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/833/2021/04/new-appg-wres_compressed.pdf
MPs LAUNCH FIRST-EVER INQUIRY INTO BRITISH PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING
A group of cross-party MPs plans to wrestle with the question of how best to promote, support and improve the wrestling industry in Britain, it was announced today.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling, co-chaired by Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones and Conservative Mark Fletcher MP will start taking evidence, written and oral, to inform a report due to be released in early 2021.
The British Wrestling industry has come a long way since the days of Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy, two very familiar names to households across the country. In recent years, homegrown talent has graduated to premier league wrestling with Brits in prominent positions in the WWE, AEW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor wrestling and elsewhere. In fact, Drew McIntyre became the first Brit to become WWE World Champion earlier this year. However, the MPs are keen to point out that the industry constitutes more than the top TV promotions.
“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”.
British wrestling has been rocked in recent months by allegations of sexual misconduct with far-reaching consequences. The MPs will seek to better understand how the industry can be better governed and are seeking out good practice examples to inform their work.
In addition, 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.”
More information here: