Further to TOWIS’s exclusive coverage of the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to the double postponement of FPW’s Futuremania show over the bank holiday weekend, promoter Steve Evans has hit back at some of the rumours that have been circulating.
Meanwhile, insiders within the UK wrestling scene have been accusing others in the business of “unethical” practices.
FPW’s show was cancelled twice at the weekend due to licensing technicalities.
Wrestling shows in the UK require a special licence, which can be held by the venue, but if they do not have one then the promoter must apply for a temporary events licence.
It transpired this weekend that neither Wallington Hall or the Canons Leisure Centre held the relevant licence, and FPW had not applied for a temporary licence either, which led to their decision to hold a show at another venue.
Sanjay Bagga, who runs LDN Wrestling and also held a show in South London this weekend, this morning criticised FPW’s actions, saying: “I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot – I hope they’re proud of themselves.”
However, Evans said yesterday:
“We have public liability insurance in place and have done since our first show. We enquired a year ago whether or not we could host events there [Wallington Hall] and were told by Sutton Theatres that we could. The venue hosted boxing there a few months before so Sutton may well have thought that their license included wrestling. The first time we were made aware of that it was not the case was when I took a call from them at 4.45pm on the 4th of May 2012.
“I would not knowingly put on an event [without the correct licensing], and had I been made aware by Sutton Theatres that this had been the case, I would not have used the venue in the first place over 12 months before. This oversight was one that Sutton Theatre has taken full responsibility for.
“When we approached the [Canons] Leisure Centre on Friday night, still having our Public Liability Insurance, we again asked the centre to host the event. Calls were made by staff and we were told that we could. Being a sports centre, again staff may well have assumed that wrestling would be covered on the licence for the venue.
“When we were made aware that they could not find the licence again, this was only made clear at 3.15pm on the 5th of May 2012. We cannot be held accountable for these venues not knowing their own licences; that is the responsibility of them and the management teams who run them.
“Again I would not knowingly hold an event without the correct licences, and if I had been made aware in good time I would have acted accordingly within the legal parameters of holding wrestling events.”
Indeed, Evans said that after discussions with Sutton Council he has only just been made aware of the possibility of applying for a temporary events licence, which takes ten days to process.
Despite repeated requests from TOWIS, including asking why the licensing technicality had not been spotted previously, Sutton Council have refused to comment or clarify their position further.
Evans added: “I would not knowingly break the law, as that would not only harm FPW as a company, but also harm the way we are working with other promoters to ensure we help to build the reputation of British wrestling.”
Ironically, sources close to the UK scene have indicated to TOWIS that Sutton Council and the management of the Canons Leisure Centre were made aware of their venues’ lack of licence by an individual within the wrestling community.
One source (not linked to FPW) told TOWIS that this isn’t unusual business practice on the UK scene. More on this in Part 2 of this story, to follow later today…