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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 number-one crown in match fishing 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 theballot 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 semi-final 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.