Chaotic scenes on the eve of Wigan's World Pie-Eating Championships
The delayed 2022 World Pie Eating Championships collapsed into chaos on the eve of the contest after pickets announced they'll block entry to the venue in a bid to get female presence on the refereeing team.
And a communication breakdown also compromised the coveted Bradley Piggins trophy.
"We're expecting a front door blockade by protesters wanting to see a female presence amongst match officials, as is the case with the World Cup and Premier League, but they haven't allowed for the back door or our maintenance chap with a screwdriver to remove the door handle they'll chain themselves to," said organiser and Piemaster Tony Callaghan, owner of competition venue Harry's Bar.
"However, our efforts to follow a policy of sustainability have tripped up after the work experience lad was given instructions to find a recycled trophy but came back with a cycling club cup."
Competitors are invited to speed eat a regulation meat and potato pie to win the Bradley Piggins Trophy.
Bricklayer Ian Gerrard, 43, from Wigan, won the last pre-pandemic World Pie Eating Championship in 2019, polishing off his pie in 35.4 seconds.
Gerrard bit back against nemesis and five-times champ Martin Appleton-Clare, 41, a salesman from Wigan, at UPE27 - the 27th annual World Pie Eating Championships - when Appleton-Clare encountered swallow stall in the final few seconds of the contest.
The cooked dimensions of the official regulation pie are a diameter of 12cm and a depth of 3.5cm, and a pie wall angle from base to top of between zero and 15 degrees.