Momentum gathered earlier this year towards the creation of a National Centre of Excellence at Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont has been slowed to a halt after Sport England representative, George Akins, effectively branded angling a second rate sport.

Pierrepont’s rowing course and the nearby Water Ski Lagoon and Winfield Pool had all been touted as ideal sites for coaching, matches and a central flagship for the development and future of the sport of angling in the Midlands region and beyond.

But George Akins, Sport England’s client manager, said that angling is NOT in the list of the top 20 ‘Elite’ sports and so it could not take priority over other governing body activities held at Holme Pierrepont.

He went on to score a stunning own goal, saying that all that mattered to Sport England was winning medals.

This was an opportunity NFA President, Ken Ball, was not going to miss as he pointed out that English angling had more medal winners than any other sport in recent years – 63 – and that the men’s senior team are the reigning World Champions.

The problem is that Sport England control all the activity on the Holme Pierrepont site. However, since the meeting Mr Akins has given the NFA a glimmer of light, saying in writing that if the Ski Lagoon becomes available he will look more favourably on angling’s plans.

For the full story, check out August’s issue of Midland Angler