Worlds Apart

FILA (the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles) has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and governs wrestling worldwide, including the Olympic Games. Buttermere Show, hidden away in the steep valleys of NW Lake District, has a Herdwick sheep show, fell running, hound-trailing and the last event on the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling calendar for 2005. Apart from mountains, what possible connection can there be between these two worlds? The link is that Buttermere Show is affiliated to the C&W Wrestling Association, and the CWWA in turn is affiliated to FILC (Federation Internationale des Luttes Celtiques). At a recent meeting in St Malo, Brittany, between The President of FILA and the President of FILC another link in the chain was proposed: a partnership between the two federations. This proposal has yet to be adopted, but it flags up that “FILA and the FILC share common values of solidarity and support between peoples; of defence of the traditional practices, real cultural inheritances that show history and the reality of a country, a people, an ethnic group or a clan; of support to the national wrestling federations and to the national policies of the education, Youth and Sports Ministries”. Having established common ground, the document then goes on to more practical matters which would establish a partnership between FILA and FILC. National wrestling bodies like the British Wrestling Association, which governs Olympic Freestyle wrestling in Britain would be required to accept the C&W Wrestling Association as a partner rather than a rival, as used to be the case, “with the objective that wrestling and more especially Traditional wrestling, will be recognised and sustained”. We can do with all the recognition and sustenance available if it means that sports grants and awards are more easily accessed. The proposed partnership in no way diminishes the independence of our Wrestling Association, but may make official contacts with Government agencies that much easier. Realistically, Buttermere Show will not be affected in the slightest by these international accords, but in theory at least the most powerful world figures in international wrestling are pleased it's happening. In researching this piece I went onto the FILA web-site ( and found a section on “Celtic Wrestling” with a picture of Andrew Carlile and Alf Harrington on the first page, so perhaps the connections are already there. Nearly forty Young Farmers from Penrith had a night of wrestling action at Carlisle Wrestling Club last week. Any other clubs wishing to sample wrestling should contact me on 016974 73559. Academies: Tuesdays - Waberthwaite Wednesdays - Carlisle Thursdays - Milnthorpe Fridays - Kendal.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (October 20th 2005)

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