Top Euro wrestling event is in doubt

A RECENT e-mail message from Jean-François Hubert, the president of the Breton Wrestling Federation, has cast doubt on whether the European Championships of Celtic Wrestling will take place this year as planned.

"Hello, Some news. We still are trying to find a city council which could give us enough money to organise the 2005 championship in Brittany instead Scotland. Lots of them just say that we are too late....(or too expensive).

Thus to date, nothing can be sure about this championship.

Wrestlers want it, we'll try to do it. If any other federation has something to propose...."

Originally, the Scottish Wrestling Bond undertook to stage the 2005 Championships, but two years of searching for grants proved fruitless.

As in England, most of the grants are for Olympic sports, no matter how few participants there are nationally.

When the Scottish parliament was constituted, there were hopes that indigenous Scottish sports such as Shinty, Quoits, Wrestling and the Highland Games events would benefit, but that has not proved to be the case. Nor do Highland Dancing and Piping competitions benefit from the new independence.

Twenty years ago, when the first Championships were held, the financial demands were much more reasonable for there were only four nations competing and rudimentary hostel accommodation was the norm.

In 1997 the Spanish region of Leon set new standards with eight national teams accommodated in a hotel, courtesy of £20,000 from local government.

When the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association last hosted the European Championships in 1999, we had support from local government sources, but that fell a long way short of the total, and in the end over sixty firms and individuals contributed the £14,000 which was required.

The Scottish Wrestling Bond does not have this spread of local support so without major sponsors they are unable to proceed.

In Brittany, their cultural heritage translates much more directly into funding, and they can usually stage big events in a variety of cities and towns.

This time there has not been enough notice to allow that to happen.

Dates: Wednesday 12th January, Carlisle Wrestling Club Points Night

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (May 4th 2011)

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