Fish O’ Ma­nia set for big changes in 2017 – and we’re all guar­an­teed a ticket!

Out goes ticket bal­lot, and four heats planned for over­seas

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME - TONY GRIGORJEVS Se­nior re­porter

FISH O’Ma­nia or­gan­is­ers have un­veiled a se­ries of ma­jor changes to the tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing a guar­an­teed ticket for ev­ery en­trant.

The mega-money tour­na­ment is widely re­garded as the num­berone crown in match­fish­ing but frus­tra­tions have grown as a re­sult of the un­pre­dictable lottery that dic­tates how tick­ets for the qual­i­fiers are dis­trib­uted.

In a bid to guar­an­tee ev­ery an­gler at least one ticket to the heats, or­gan­is­ers are set to scrap the bal­lot sys­tem, and are cur­rently work­ing on a brand new for­mat.

Changes have also been made to the fi­nal, with 28 an­glers in­stead of the usual 16 set to bat­tle it out on Cud­more Fish­eries’ Arena Pool in 2017.

And that’s not all. Fish O’Ma­nia is set to go global for the first time in its his­tory, with plans to run four over­seas qual­i­fiers out of a to­tal of 28. The win­ner of each will go straight through to the fi­nal, as the con­tro­ver­sial semi­fi­nal that was in­tro­duced this year is be­ing abol­ished.

Fish O’Ma­nia owner Match­room Sport be­lieves the over­haul will spell an even brighter fu­ture for the com­pe­ti­tion, and com­pany chief Barry Hearn told An­gling Times: “Fish O’Ma­nia re­mains the big­gest and best event in match fish­ing, and 2017 is go­ing to be a very ex­cit­ing year for the tour­na­ment.

“The qual­i­fiers have been amended due to feed­back from the com­peti­tors, and the sys­tem for ob­tain­ing tick­ets is also over­hauled, giv­ing ev­ery­one at

least one of the 3,920 tick­ets on of­fer and pos­si­bly more.

“Scrap­ping the semi-fi­nal seemed like the right thing to do, and ex­pand­ing the fi­nal on the Satur­day makes sure ev­ery­one gets to go to the party.

“Hav­ing in­ter­na­tional qual­i­fiers will also add to the event, as we plan to grow the Fish O’Ma­nia brand across Europe.”

A whop­ping £50,000 will once again be handed to the over­all win­ner, and this year’s cham­pion Andy May is look­ing for­ward to de­fend­ing his ti­tle un­der the new for­mat.

He said: “I loved ev­ery minute of this year’s fi­nal and I think the in­creased num­ber of an­glers next year will make it a re­ally ex­cit­ing event for both com­peti­tors and spec­ta­tors.

“Ev­ery match an­gler in the coun­try wants a shot at win­ning Fish O’Ma­nia and I think it’s great that the or­gan­is­ers are work­ing on a way to guar­an­tee ev­ery­one a chance to get into the lime­light.”

Tick­ets are set to be made avail­able in the early part of next year, with full de­tails of the brand new al­lo­ca­tion sys­tem set to be re­vealed in the com­ing months.

Andy May is ea­ger to de­fend his Fish O’ ti­tle.

Cud­more’s Arena Pool will stage the fi­nal.

Barry Hearn: ex­cit­ing times ahead, he says.

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