THE ousted Irish coarse fishing team that finished a creditable and best ever fourth at the World Championships in Spain this year have vowed to fight for the chance to fish for their country again.

As Angler’s Mail have reported last week and in the current issue, out Tuesday, November 23, the squads that fished in the World Champs and Celtic Cup fell out with the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland after the governing body rejected reforms that were agreed upon.

The federation instead insisted on keeping a four match trial basis for selection and it means every single member of the World squad in Spain won’t be fishing in the 2011 Champs in Italy.

Team manager Richard Caplice is also at the end of his three year contact and hasn’t been offered a new one.

Even Cathal Hughes who was silver medalist last year won’t be picked despite him asking for a wild card as charity commitments meant he couldn’t fish in all four qualifying matches. Two have already taken place and just 14 anglers have fished both.

Below are the full statements from both last year’s World Champs squad plus the NCFFI…

2010 Irish International Squad statement

The majority of the 2010 Irish international angling squad would like to clarify our position on the recent article regarding the state of the Irish national fishing team. We feel the article is a fair and accurate account of the current situation.

We would also like to address the issues raised by the NCFFI in their response to the article, as we are outraged by them. We feel this is a poor attempt by the NCFFI to say everything is rosy in the garden. Well quite clearly it is not the federation is in turmoil and is trying to defend the indefensible.

Yes there has been a system of four qualifiers in place for a number of years. However last year due to the fact the world championships were moved to June the manager was given permission by the executive to pick the team prior to qualifiers. The results of this speak for themselves. This raised the question as to whether the current protocol was the correct method of pick teams to achieve results.

As stated in the article “It was common knowledge that a compromise needed to be reached on how the team was selected so a meeting was held involving all parties. An extremely fair way of picking a team was agreed on by all, but this was rejected by the Federation executive committee, who decided to run with an outdated protocol document rather than take advice from those concerned.

So basically the NCFFI executive, which only has one former International in its ranks, feel it was more qualified to decide how an international team than the subcommittee it put together.

The result of this is that only 14 anglers turned up at the first two trials recently, and contrary to the NCFFI’s statement there were not many familiar faces there was five anglers with previous international experience. In line with the protocol Irish team selection for 2011 is now over as anglers must fish all four qualifiers.

It is also worth pointing out that under this protocol in the past the manager had wild cards, this is now not the case as Cathal Hughes was refused a wild card, as he was unable to attend the first trials.

We find it totally unbelievable that the NCFFI in their statement does not refer to any of this information.

The current squad find it laughable that the NCFFI’s reason for a poor turnout is an economic one. The fact is last year’s squads travelled for a fraction of the price of previous years due to the sterling work done by Richard Caplice in securing a level of sponsorship never before seen in Irish Angling.

Furthermore the NCFFI is in no position to talk to anybody about financial matters.

The bottom line here is certain anglers some of who are within the ranks of the NCFFI where not selected in 2010 and decided to make the manager’s position untenable regardless of any results achieved. In fact the NCFFI held meetings regard Irish team affairs on at least two occasions when the manager was away with teams. Shame on you all it’s a sad reflection on a national body when it cannot or will not put the national interest ahead of the interests of its own officers.

Final the majority of the 2010 squad are still fully united and still support Richard Caplice 100 per cent, we would hope in the future to represent our country with the same level of dedication and pride as we did in 2010.

National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland statement

A system of four qualifier matches has been in use for a number of years now in selecting Irish International teams. Two of these qualifiers have now been run off for the selection of next year’s team.

The dates for these events are chosen so they do not clash with any major club event(s), which are our member clubs are required to supply to our committee.

While many familiar faces from past international teams were present, only one person from last year’s squad was represented.

Although turn out at the qualifiers this year was down on previous years, many anglers citied the current economic crisis for their absence, as it can cost an angler anywhere upwards of 1000 Euro and anglers often have to use their annual leave from work to represent Ireland.

The qualifying process is open to all members of the NCFFI and should an individual(s) not wish to put themselves forward it is totally a personal decision.

As the team manager is a voluntary position, managers are appointed for a three year term and the position is open to all members of our Federation.

The highly successful manager of the 2010 team has just completed his term and currently the position is being advertised among our clubs in accordance with our rules. It is envisaged that the appointed manager(s) will oversee the final two qualifiers in March 2011.

He will then be in a position to announce the teams to represent the island of Ireland in all international competitions for 2011.

It is also worth noting that the position of manager carries neither stipend nor an expense account and just like the anglers there is a lot of expense involved.

This has been the case since Ireland first competed on the international stage over 50 years ago.

Ireland’s coarse angling community proudly acknowledges the debt of gratitude owed to each and every angler who has given so generously to fly the nations’ flags at international competitions.