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Angling Trust 2021 National Coarse Competitions Overview
Angling Trust 2021 National Coarse Competitions Overview;
Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook summarises the 2021 coarse national championships programme and provides an insight as to how the £81,570 of income collected from anglers is spent, paid-out and invested.
It’s my first full year in charge and I’ve invested a lot of time in understanding the competition landscape and experiencing a full round of Nationals and finals across the past 12 months. Competitions are a fundamental part of Angling across all disciplines, they are inclusive, encourage regular participation and the anglers who fish them are from a diverse cross section of our society and our sport. I fished the Division 2 national myself and was pegged in the same section as anglers from age 18-81, male and female, disabled and able bodied all competing on a level playing field for the same prize…how many sports can claim that for their national championships!
I’ve spoken to a lot of anglers this year and recognise that there is room for improvement. Equally some of criticism we receive is unfair, inappropriate and factually incorrect and some of the personal abuse which my team are subject to isn’t acceptable. Transparency is important in addressing these questions. Earlier this year I committed to publishing financial statements covering the 2021 coarse national programme once it was completed, to show how entry fees are used to cover the direct costs of putting on an event. The accompanying statements vary by competition and provide a clear breakdown, so anglers can see where their money goes on each event. I am the first to recognise that we can do more to challenge and reduce our cost base in the future – by securing lower peg fees and HQ costs or reducing our external stewarding costs, we can pass those savings on in the form of higher prize pots.
Unlike other organisers, the Angling Trust is not-for-profit and does not benefit from peg fee income or practice events, shop sales, food, bait or increased sales through brand alignment. We are reliant on volunteers and do need to pay stewards and volunteer expenses. We would love more volunteers to come on board, but the reality is that very few wish to volunteer to run events on a regular basis. We have five staff members supporting delivery of competitions across all disciplines – this equates to around 250 competitions per year – each of which need organising, selling, ticketing, co-ordinating, drawing and running. Then the results need collating, announcing and promoting, prizes and pools need paying out and, in many cases, refunds need paying. The team and volunteers work incredibly hard; to put this into context we are looking at over 10,000 pegs administered per year in the coarse sphere alone. There is a lot that goes into each event and, as summarised in the financial statements, when you consider that these figures include no contribution to Angling Trust staff salaries and overheads, we are certainly not making a net profit from these competitions.
The overall surplus of £4,614 from the 2021 coarse National programme makes a contribution towards the resourcing of our competitions division; as you can see it also ensures that where an event such as the junior and youth national makes a loss, we can subsidise that pathway competition from the more established national events to ensure that the event can go ahead. Even when taking into account the membership contribution of every angler who fishes 1 or more competitions a year the Angling Trust still contributes significantly more to competitions than we recover in membership and ticketing. We make this investment to ensure that we offer a diverse and inclusive calendar of events catering for a wide cross section of the angling community. Our entry prices are extremely competitive which ensures that our events are accessible, this does sometimes mean that prize funds are lower than commercially run competitions and that is a balancing act we strive to get right.
As you would expect 100% of pools are paid out across all of our events.
On the international front we have over 30 National representative teams and currently contribute £25k to help support them, but we need to do more. We have a group of loyal sponsors who help to cover the costs of individual teams – we are extremely grateful for this support and the difference it makes to the teams, managers and competitors. However, this still means that many of our top anglers need to make their own financial contribution in order to pull on an England shirt. Whilst this is a reality for most amateur sports, I believe we have an opportunity to develop the Team England brand and bring in new sponsors from outside of the industry. By making a core investment competition anglers can see further direct allocation of resource back into this division from the Angling Trust.
The financial statements provide transparency on all of the events over which the Angling Trusts has independent control. They debunk any historical myth that the Trust takes large sums of money out of your National competitive programme. This is not the case. We will continue to work with competition anglers across sea, game and coarse disciplines to run events they wish to fish and re-invest all available resource into areas which they value and appreciate.
We get hundreds of positive messages each week from competition anglers and we receive some great feedback from the anglers we meet on the bank – The team and I very much appreciate your support and insight. We are striving for improvement and will be providing opportunities for you to feedback so please do take the time to do so – we look forward to working with our members to deliver a gold standard of competitions.