MPs Announce Recommendations Following Inquiry Into British Wrestling

The advisements come in a 103-page report on the industry

Back in September, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Wrestling launched the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Professional Wrestling in Great Britain. 

After taking "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 world," a report on the inquiry authored by MPs from the Labour Party, Conservative Party and the Scottish National Party has now been released. 

Within the 103-page report, MPs noted "there is an urgent requirement for action on many fronts" and they have outlined 30 recommendations. The main recommendations are as follows:

• "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."

APPG Co-Chairs Alex Davies-Jones and Mark Fletcher MP said: "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 to putting our recommendations into action in the coming weeks."

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: "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 also stated: "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 (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) will look at it closely."

A full copy of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Professional Wrestling in Great Britain Report can be viewed here

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons