China Championship 2017 – Day 3 – It’s a day of shocks but Ronnie survives…

To say that day 3 brought the unexpected is an understatement. Here are the results:

ChinaChamps2017Day3Result

And here are the reports on Worldsnooker:

the afternoon session (morning in Europe):

Friday 18 Aug 2017 12:47PM

Chinese teenager Zhou Yuelong stunned World Champion Mark Selby 5-4 to delight the home crowd at the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.

Zhou is one of the brightest prospects on the World Snooker Tour and has already claimed World Cup glory, lifting the title in 2015 for China alongside Yan Bingtao. He reached his first ranking quarter-final at this year’s Welsh Open and he is one win away from replicating that feat this week.

Selby was making his first ranking event appearance of the season this week, having missed the start of the campaign due to a toe injury.

Zhou got off to a tremendous start, going 2-0 ahead thanks to a run of 124 in the second frame. Selby fought back to take the following two frames and head into the mid-session at 2-2.

When they returned it went 3-3 before a tense seventh frame. Both players spurned opportunities, but eventually it was Zhou who missed a straightforward final black to allow Selby to go 4-3 up. The 19-year-old then was in first as he looked to force a decider and made 72. That proved to be enough after a missed brown by Selby which could have allowed him to steal.

The deciding frame once again saw the Jester looking to steal from behind, but another miss on the brown allowed Zhou to cross the line for one of the biggest wins of his career.

Ronnie O’Sullivan overcame David Gilbert 5-3 in what proved to be an edgy encounter. The win for the Rocket sets up a potential meeting with Judd Trump in the last 16, who faces Graeme Dott later on.

Gilbert started well and established a 2-0 lead. However, the Rocket immediately propelled himself back into the tie making a sublime 130 clearance, before restoring parity at 2-2.

The second half of the match was characterised by missed opportunities from both players. However, it was O’Sullivan who was the more clinical of the pair. He made further breaks of 42 and 68 on his way to securing the win.

It is important that you put on a good show for the fans. It was an exciting match and I think the fans enjoyed it,” said O’Sullivan. “Whether I win or lose the tournament will go on and this is a great event here in China.

Shaun Murphy is through to the last 16 after Anthony Hamilton was forced to concede the match at 1-0 down. Hamilton suffers from chronic neck pain and was unable to continue after the opening frame.

Mark Davis recorded a surprise 5-3 victory over world number six Barry Hawkins. There were breaks of 40 and 94 for Davis, as he booked a last 16 meeting with Ali Carter.

Carter came through a thrilling clash with David Grace 5-4. The pair contested a high quality match, but it was the Captain who eventually emerged with the spoils. This was largely due to his heavier scoring in the early stages of the match. Breaks of 68, 96 and 133 allowed him to establish a 3-1 lead. Grace fought valiantly, but it was the two-time World finalist who progressed.

and the evening session (afternoon in Europe):

Friday 18 Aug 2017 04:04PM

Alan McManus whitewashed home favourite Ding Junhui 5-0 on a day of surprise results at the Evergrande China Championship, with the top six players in the world all knocked out.

John Higgins, Judd Trump, Marco Fu and Ding all suffered defeats in the evening session in Guangzhou, following the earlier exits of Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins.

Friday’s results leave Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams as the only top-16 ranked players left in the draw, with the last 16 to be played on Saturday (click here for the match schedule).

Veteran McManus, age 46, struggled with a back injury for much of last season but played some superb snooker to knock out China’s Ding. Breaks of 48, 73 and 49 helped put him 4-0 up at the interval, and he clinched the result in frame five with a 49 clearance.

“It’s a bit of a thrill, I must admit,” said Glasgow’s McManus, who lost 17-11 to Ding in the semi-finals of the World Championship last year. “I’ve had some battles with Ding and usually I play decent against him. He was off colour tonight, I won a couple of close frames and that was the difference. He wasn’t scoring, which is unlike Ding, and I felt comfortable on the TV table.

“I am trying to prolong my career as much as I can. I have had some real problems with my sciatic nerve, I could barely walk for a while. It has almost cleared up and it’s getting gradually better, so I can stand at the table and I’m able to practise. When you have something wrong and you can’t bend down and execute the shot then you are in deep trouble. I have been through it but I hope I’m fit enough to continue now, and if I can work hard then I’ll get the odd result.

“It would be nice to go deep here. I’ve got Fergal O’Brien next and you know what you will get with him, he prepares perfectly for every event.”

Defending champion Higgins went down 5-2 to Tom Ford, who made breaks of 85, 59 and 133.

Graeme Dott beat Trump 5-3 in a high quality match which featured two centuries and five more breaks over 70. Trump led 3-2 having compiled runs of 104, 128 and 85. But 2006 World Champion Dott won the sixth frame with a 74, a crucial seventh on the colours, then made an 87 in the eighth to secure victory.

“I played really well, it’s the best match I have been involved in for a while,” said Larkhall’s Dott. “It was like a game of nine-ball pool, whoever was getting in first was clearing up. I won the one close frame in the seventh and then made another good break in the last.

“I have been working a lot with (coach) Chris Henry so I am glad to have kicked on this season. I have got Ronnie O’Sullivan next so I’ll have to play the same way as today to have a chance of beating him. I enjoy playing him because he is the best. If you don’t play well he just makes you look like a silly wee boy.”

Belgium’s Luca Brecel enjoyed a 5-2 win over Fu  with a top break of 91. That was a welcome result for Brecel who lost 10-9 to Fu at the World Championship after squandering a 7-2 lead.

Matthew Stevens top scored with 81 in a 5-2 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh while Mark Williams won a Welsh derby against Ryan Day 5-0 with a top run of 93. China’s Li Hang edged out Michael White 5-4 with top breaks of 139 and 133.

bold” added by me.

Regarding Ronnie’s match, David Gilbert started really well and never allowed Ronnie to settle before frame 3. That marvellous 130 got him going and he played decent for 3 frames and 1/2. He applied himself and his safety was rather good. After that both players looked out of sorts, missing unexpectedly and losing position more often than not. Maybe they both were tired. It’s not unusual when playing in Asia that players concentration is iffy due to jet lag. Whatever, Ronnie’s last clearance was, under the circumstances, a very good one, and overall he deseved the win as the match stats prove:

ChinaChamps2017ROSvGilbertStats

and here is the match:

Also enjoy a few action pictures thanks to Tai Chengzhe

So it’s Ronnie vs Dotty tomorrow evening (afternoon for us in Europe). Dott said he will need to play well, but the same is true for Ronnie in this clash of former World Champions.

China Championship 2017 – Day 2

Before analysing what happened today, lets go back to yesterday evening (afternoon for us in Europe): there was an Opening Ceremony, as is usual in China, just before the start of the evening session and here are a few images shared by Worldsnooker on twitter:

The players were represented by Shaun Murphy, Marco Fu, Mark Selby and Ronnie. You know, he’s that guy who isn’t in a suit …

Now about today’s action. Here are the results:

ChinaChamps2017Day2Results

There weren’t many surprises today, in general the favourites went through. From the top 16 involved, only Mark Allen lost, and his conqueror is Matthew Stevens, a player who was tipped as a future star at the start of his career and has probably massively under-achieved. A number of private issues certainly had an impact on his career, but Matthew seems to be playing better again, and looks healthier as well. That’s really good to see.

Matthew Selt’s defeat to Tom Ford is also a surprise, particularly with 5-1 score. Of course Tom is a very dangerous player on his day, a very heavy scorer, but still, I would have expected a much closer match. Not sure what happened there, as I didn’t see it, but … maybe Matthew Selt spent the night watching his good friend Stephen Hendry in the MasterChef cooking show? Only joking.

About the matches I watched here is my take on the Ronnie 5-2 win over Sam Baird .

As I expected, Mark Selby played much better today in beating Noppon Saengkham, than he did yesterday. He looked his very solid self again, scored well and was always in control. He finished with a beautiful 123.

Judd Trump had little trouble in beating Daniel Wells by 5-2, although the way the first frame went, one could have feared a repeat of the World Open disaster. The commentators were discussing the impact of Judd’s laser surgery on his ability to sight the balls properly as he was regularly hitting them too thick or too thin but seldom as he intended. However from frame two he adjusted and normal service resumed. After the match Judd explained to Worldsnooker what the situation is about his eyes and the surgery he’s had:

“I was going into a lot of the later matches at night and my eyes would dry up. Anyone who has worn contact lenses knows how hard it is to keep them in daily, let alone play snooker. I felt like it was holding me back a bit. I’ve had it done and although its not quite right just yet hopefully the more I play the better I will get. That is probably why my confidence hasn’t been quite as high as usual because I sight the ball slightly differently.”

Judd also had a good chance to make a 4th competitive maximum break in frame 5, but couldn’t get position on the black with the last red, was forced to take the blue instead and the break ended at 105. Watch it here:

 

China Championship 2017 – Ronnie wins his last 64 match

Before coming to the match itself, lets cover briefly what happened yesterday, apart from practice obviously, and a bit of sightseeing.

Ronnie had an interview and some filming with Superstar Online. Thanks to Silvry for pointing the link to the interview to us (the link has changed but finding the new one was pretty obvious).

In this interview Ronnie speaks about his cue – he’s still playing with the old one, whilst john Parris is working on making him a new one he feels comfortable with – as well as snooker in the Olympics, attending the Athletics World Championships in London, Usain Bolt, a possible “Hussle” in China after the World Championship and more.

Here is the transcript of this interview on the Superstar Online site (automatic translation on Chrome)

O’Sullivan: The club auction raise money a question for him to doubt himself

2017-08-17 7: 0: 43        China Billiards Association official website

  On August 16, 2017, Hengda World Snooker China Championship was officially opened in Guangzhou. According to the schedule, the first day and no task of the “rocket” O’Sullivan in the hotel for adaptive training, then the fire teacher accepted the “Superstar Online” interview. Although the interview time is only a short period of 15 minutes, but the reporter brought the problem to the fire teacher did not expect, and even began to “doubt yourself.”

 

Recently, O’Sullivan has held in Shenzhen, China and Britain Snooker Star Challenge and Guangzhou Hengda Chinese Championship debut, so that Chinese fans once again close to the “rocket” style. But careful fans found that O’Sullivan’s recent weight rose in a straight line, the body has obviously fat. In that the fire teacher is about to accept the “superstar online” interview, fans friends to the message: “Can you ask him, do you feel that the recent fat powerful? Vest is not to change the new friends?

When the reporter brought the problem to O’Sullivan, “rocket” stunned for three seconds, then smiled and said: “I have three vests, respectively, S, M and L number, I now wear the M number.” In the custom when O’Sullivan gave himself to set aside a “development space.”

Because it is just the end of adaptive training, in an interview with O’Sullivan also took his club, the topic also started. “I am going to change the club recently.” For professional players, the club is a big deal. “In fact, now the club has been very good, but with a long time, I think it is not so much better now. Now, the master of the bar to help me make a new club, I think maybe soon after You can change the club. ”

 

As a snooker king star, even O’Sullivan abandoned the club, but also a lot of senior fans coveted, the collection of Jiapin. “I do not have the club will usually be given to friends, or take charity auction, with the money to help others.”

Recently, the international billiards organizations on the billiards into the Olympic issue of the differences, the billiard bid for this cliché, O’Sullivan said: “I think this is not I can adjust or solve the problem, I think now Snow “The sport is very good, and we enjoy the joy it brings to us.”

Just 15 minutes of the interview soon ended, but O’Sullivan for their own body problems are still brooding. “Do you think I’m so fat?” O’Sullivan came to the dressing mirror, “Do you think I am now fat or strong?” (China Billiards Association Xiaofan)

Editor: cbsa

Now, today …

Ronnie beat Sam Baird by 5-2 in the last 64

ChinaChamps2017ROS-BairdStats.png

Here is the report on World Snooker:

Thursday 17 Aug 2017 10:54AM

Ronnie O’Sullivan is safely through to the last 32 of the Evergrande China Championship after a 5-2 defeat of Sam Baird.

The Rocket was competing in his first ranking event match since losing an epic World Championship quarter-final to Ding Junhui in April.

O’Sullivan lost the opening frame but it didn’t take him long to shake off any signs of ring rust, making a sublime break of 124 to level at 1-1. He took to the front in the third frame, before a run of 91 ensured he went into the mid-session interval 3-1 ahead.

When they returned the five-time World Champion made it 4-1, but Baird kept himself alive in the next with a clearance of 42 to take the frame on the black. O’Sullivan got himself over the line with a century run of 100.

O’Sullivan said: “I’m pretty satisfied with that. The fans come to watch and you want to put on a good performance for them, as well as getting the job done as quickly as possible.

Some more great picture thanks to Tai Chengzhe

It was an entertaining quality match indeed and Ronnie’s attitude was excellent throughout.

2017 China Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Sam Baird

Ronnie will play David Gilbert next. Not easy!

China Championship 2017 – Day 1

Here are today’s results:

ChinaChamps2017Day1Results

And a few comments about the matches I had the opportunity to watch, in part or in full

All four held-over last 128 matches were on television. From the top seeds, only Liang Wenbo lost, and Ian Burns totally deserved the win, he played well, Liang didn’t.

John Higgins scored very heavily against a very, very poor Lyu Haotian. John played really well, but it’s fair to say that Lyu didn’t give him any opposition whatsoever. Lyu had chances, and couldn’t take any. He missed everything and usually left openings as well. He scored only 9 points in the whole match. If Lyu was a kid who had never played a top player, I would understand that he could be overwhelmed. But the guy has been a pro for two seasons in the past… I’m a bit puzzled.

Ding and Mark Selby both won easily without playing well. They didn’t need to and you would expect them to improve in the next round.

None of the wildcards won their match.

Regarding the last 64 round, there were a few big surprises. Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham lost Li Hang and Yan Bingtao respectively. Both matches were close but the top seeds never looked comfortable. Anthony McGill lost also, by 5-2, to Mark Joyce. Joyce is a very dangerous player of course, but the score is rather severe. Also Joe Perry was beaten by 5-1 by Mike Dunn and this was certainly unexpected, certainly with such a damning scoreline.

 

China Championship 2017 – Opening

It is Opening day at the China Championship 2017! It starts in earnest tomorrow, but today the players were made very welcome with a red carpet ceremony and a launch dinner. Here are some images shared on weibo and twitter by Worldsnooker and players:

 

There were a few interesting posts on weibo today as well: apparently the Shanghai Masters 2017 (or 2018) is well and truly alive, and Barry Hearn confirmed that talks are underway to stage the event later this season. Some posts suggest that it could be run from 13 to 18 November, which would leave the Champion of Champions squeezed between this one and the International Championship making it extremely difficult for the players involved in all three who would have to travel to China, back to UK, back to China and back to UK without any time to recover from jet lag, and very difficult for the Champion of Champions promoters to organise the schedule, which could impact how the tickets sell. Is this really sensible? Given that the Champion of Champions isn’t ranking, it could give this nice tournament a bad blow, with some top players declining the invitation and people waiting to know the line-up and schedule before buying tickets.

China Championship 2017 Preview

The China Championship 2017 is upon us, at Matt Huart has written this excellent preview:

China Championship 2017: Tournament Preview

  • 12th August 2017

 

It has been almost seven weeks since the last piece of ranking event silverware was handed over to first-time winner Ryan Day at the Riga Masters, but next Wednesday marks the return of ranking event snooker as the venue stages of the Evergrande China Championship get underway in Guangzhou.

Won by John Higgins last November as a 16-player invitational competition, this year the event has become a full 128 player ranking event, with the first qualifying round completed from 3-6 June at Preston’s Guild Hall. While top prize has been reduced from £200,000 to £150,000, the overall prize fund has been increased to £700,000, on a par with the money available at the World Open and International Championship events.

The importance of the event is reflected by a field that even this early in the season in August, sees just three top 32 players (Kyren Wilson, Ricky Walden and Dominic Dale) absent having failed to qualify.

A number of first round matches have been held over to the venue stages, including world champion Mark Selby, defending champion Higgins and Chinese duo Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo, while Andrew Higginson, Daniel Wells and Tian Pengfei face wild cards in their openers. As at the Riga Masters, these wild cards are now included within the main 128 player draw, rather than as part of a separate wild card round as in previous seasons.

Judd Trump in Guangzhou

Most unusually, the tournament will begin and end not on a Sunday, but mid-week following consultation with the tournament promoter. With the final to be played on Tuesday in Guangzhou, there could potentially be a tight turnaround for players involved in the Paul Hunter Classic, set to get underway that Friday.

Matches will be played over the best of nine frames with intervals up to and including the quarter-finals, subsequently increasing to the best of 11 for the semi-finals and best of 19 for the two-session final. There will be eight tables used for the first two rounds, decreasing to four for the last 16, two for the quarter-finals and one for the semi-finals and final.

Rankings

The tournament will be the first of three tournaments (Paul Hunter Classic and Indian Open), to be completed ahead of the second seedings revision of the 2017/18 campaign, with the completed list to be used to determine seedings for the 2017 International Championship.

The Top Quarter

And so on to the draw, which will be headed by reigning world champion Mark Selby, rather than defending champion John Higgins who finds himself seeded second in the opposite half.

Having missed out on the Riga Masters following a toe injury, the season starts here for the world number one and it will be interesting to see how quickly he is able to get back up to speed against players who have more snooker under their belts so far this term. First up for him will be wild card Luo Honghao, who has past wins to his name against Eden Sharav and Chris Wakelin in Asian Tour events and was most recently seen at the China Open back in March.

Further Asian opposition would await Selby in the next two rounds, with Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham to be followed by either Zhou Yuelong or Chen Zifan in the last 32. In the same section, Martin Gould is seeded to meet Anthony McGill in the last 32 if they can come through their opening round matches. Looking back at their head to head, the pair met four times in 2013 but not come across each other since, McGill having won their only best of nine encounter 5-2 back at that year’s China Open.

The other half of the quarter meanwhile contains no fewer than four former world champions and six ranking event winners, including 2015 World Championship finalists Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy. Neither have an easy start to the tournament however, with Bingham set to face 17-year-old prodigy and now top 64 player Yan Bingtao, while Murphy will come up against 47-year-old Ken Doherty, arguably the player of the season so far having been relegated at the end of last season.

Other match-ups to keep an eye out for include a match between Stephen Maguire and Rory McLeod in a repeat of their Crucible last 16 clash back in April, while veteran duo Peter Ebdon and Anthony Hamilton meet 25 years on from their first professional encounter at the 1992 Strachan Challenge.

The Second Quarter

Top seed in the second quarter of the draw is home hero Ding Junhui, who like Selby above has had his last 128 match against countryman Niu Zhuang held over to the venue stages. Awaiting the winner will be Alfie Burden in the last 64, no stranger to difficult second round draws in recent years, while either Elliot Slessor or Alan McManus would be next up in the last 32.

The other half of this mini-section is relatively open with 13th seeded Kyren Wilson having fallen in qualifying to Michael Georgiou, meaning that either the Cypriot, Mark King, Fergal O’Brien or Kurt Maflin is guaranteed to feature in the last 16. Of note, Northern Ireland Open champion King did in fact defeat Kurt Maflin during the recent European Masters qualifiers in Preston, while Georgiou recorded a 5-0 win against O’Brien in their World Open qualifiers just days ago.

Elsewhere, former World Championship finalists Barry Hawkins and Ali Carter are seeded to meet in the last 16, but interestingly it is Carter who has had the better of their rivalry down the years, winning six of their seven matches outside of the Championship League.

Among those looking to spoil the party are Ben Woollaston and Mark Davis who meet in what on the face of it looks to be a difficult to call last 64 match, although upon closer inspection it is Woollaston who has dominated their recently encounters.

David Grace meanwhile will face Ian Preece in what will be their first professional meeting, Preece having whitewashed Ricky Walden to qualify.

The Third Quarter

Moving to the third half of the draw and immediately what jumps off the screen is a potential last 16 meeting between Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan, a result of O’Sullivan having dropped to 14th in the seeding list for this tournament.

Of course nothing is guaranteed however and with Trump having suffered a 5-0 whitewash to Sam Craigie last week, he will be looking to get back on track with a win against either Daniel Wells or Ma Chunmao in his last 64 match. If he can win that, he would face either 2006 world champion Graeme Dott or Robert Milkins, ahead of that potential O’Sullivan encounter.

Speaking of O’Sullivan, he will begin his tournament against Sam Baird, the latter having won their only previous professional meeting at a PTC event back in 2011, while either David Gilbert or Stuart Carrington would await the winner in the last 32.

Judd Trump playing snooker shot

In the other half of the quarter we find Marco Fu and Liang Wenbo, both ranking event winners last season and looking to kickstart 2017/18 in Guangzhou. For Fu, a tricky opener against Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri in what will be their first professional meeting, while either Jimmy Robertson or Luca Brecel, the latter who Fu memorably came back from the brink to defeat back at the Crucible in April, would provide the opposition in the last 32.

For Liang, he will have an extra match to navigate as he faces Ian Burns in a match held over from Preston, with Allan Taylor already awaiting the winner in the second round.

Completing the section are Mike Dunn and Joe Perry, Dunn hoping to record his first ever professional win against the former Players Championship winner.

The Bottom Quarter

Last but certainly not least comes the bottom section of the draw, from which the likes of John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Mark Williams will be among those looking to emerge.

For the defending champion Higgins comes a held over match against Lyu Haotian, before a potential meeting against Chris Wakelin in the last 64 and then a contest with either Matt Selt or Tom Ford in the following round.

Whoever can come through that section is guaranteed to face either Welsh or Chinese opposition. Top ranked Welsh duo Mark Williams and Riga champion Ryan Day can both be found here on a collision course for the last 32, or perhaps neither will make it and Cao Yupeng will take on either Tian Pengfei or Fan Zhenyi.

Further up the draw Neil Robertson will be looking to continue the form that he showed in winning the invitational Hong Kong Masters last month with victory against Li Hang in his opening match. The last time the pair met in China, Robertson notched four century breaks at the 2013 International Championship on his way to his landmark ‘century of centuries’ achievement by the end of the season. The winner will face either Michael White or Xiao Guodong who have both enjoyed improved fortunes of late and perhaps most notably met in the final of the 2015 Shoot Out, won by White.

Finally, new father Mark Allen is set to face Matthew Stevens in the last 64, the Northern Irishman looking for a similar outcome to his 10-4 victory against Stevens in their last meeting back in the final of the 2013 World Open. Either way, the winner will be rewarded with a clash against either Michael Holt or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

How to watch

The tournament gets underway on Wednesday and will be available to watch both on Eurosport TV and Eurosport Player.

It’s not an easy draw for Ronnie. Sam Baird is very dangerous on his day, he’s a very heavy scorer. The same is certainly true for David Gilbert who is on the verge of the top 16 bracket. And then of course, it could be Judd Trump next. I don’t read anything in Judd’s heavy defeat in the World Open qualifiers, I don’t think he really wanted to play there. His form in Hong Kong was pretty good, but so was Ronnie’s and I expect a close match if both get that far.

World Snooker Services – the fitters – have shared these pictures of the setup on social media. It looks great.

 

And, finally, here is the trailer:

 

 

The war we don’t need …

War

On August 1, 2017 WPBSA published  this article

Following an inappropriate and unconstitutional attempt by some members of the International Billiards and Snooker Association (IBSF) to control seats within the World Confederation of Billiards Sports, the WPBSA will be distancing itself completely from the IBSF.

All World Snooker Tour places allocated to the IBSF will be removed with immediate effect. Any organisation staging events which hold two-year WSL tour cards for the winners should check with the WPBSA before taking any entries.

The WPBSA has had serious concerns for some time about governance standards within some Cue Sport organisations. The WPBSA is committed promoting the principles of good governance in sport and will continue to work with National Federations who share the same vision for the future.

For us fans, it came a bit like a thunderstorm on blue skies day. What was happening there?

On August 3, IBSF responded as explained by David Cauldfield on his blog

Here is a large excerpt:

“We at IBSF feel responsible to explain to you the circumstances of what happened between IBSF and WPBSA recently,” opened the statement.

“Both parties signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU) in 2013 to cooperate and establish World Snooker Federation (WSF) as a representative of snooker in the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS).

“After almost four years, WSF could not form a legal status for snooker. We were expecting WSF to be a legal world confederation, and the status of snooker is still not legalized in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other institutions.

“WPBSA did several acts against the interests of the IBSF member countries, for instance:

– WPBSA interfered in the internal affairs of IBSF more than once.

– WPBSA did not abide by its agreement with IBSF and it continued interfering in the internal affairs of some IBSF member countries and continental federations.

– WPBSA extended financial and media aid to several organizations to organize events, world women championships and English Billiards championship, which acted against the interests of IBSF.

– WPBSA did not try to support IBSF or continental federations with regard to the wild cards and spots for the IBSF players in the 6-Red Championship for professionals.

– WPBSA continued to make IBSF champions to sign unfair contracts to grant them wild cards without considering the interests of their national federations.

“Considering the above mentioned facts and many other issues which are out of the scope of this letter, WPBSA tried to make the WSF a private company registered in London.”

“IBSF considered that if this was permitted to happen it puts an end to the IBSF. So, we felt responsible to guard the interests of IBSF and its members.”

The statement later reads: “During the World Games in Poland recently, WPBSA tried to get our approval for separation from the WCBS and shape a new federation away from the World Poolbilliard Association (WPA) and Union Mondiale de Billiard (UMB).

“The WPBSA had already disrupted our relations with the WPA and UMB who are partners in the WCBS, which is the official confederation to deal with the IOC.

“Despite all the above, we have done our duty to protect the status of snooker with IOC and its entities, and to correct what had been ruined by WPBSA during the past two years.

“Notwithstanding, IBSF were willing to keep the WPBSA representative in the WCBS board, but WPBSA wants to impose its conditions on IBSF in choosing the IBSF representatives in the WCBS.

“We were surprised with the WPBSA’s approach during the recent days. IBSF is an officially registered international sports federation, hence, we will not show abrupt reactions, but we will certainly do what we have to do very soon.

“We will advise and inform the concerned authorities of international sports establishments, National Olympic Committees, and international media, that the IBSF rights are reserved as the Sole Official International Governing Body of snooker worldwide.”

In his article David explains the context in which this response came into the public eye, I can only strongly advise that you read it in full.

The next development was the announcement that Jason Fergusson is stepping down from his post as of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports. This was posted on WPBSA Website on August 9, 2017

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has today resigned his position as President of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS) and severed all links to the organisation.

This announcement comes following the success of the 2017 World Games Billiards Sports event in Wroclaw, Poland. This decision was taken because despite him taking all possible steps to improve the governance standards within the organisation, the WCBS still fails to meet the standards required by the WCBS Constitution and sports industry best practice.

Sport in the modern world has to follow the best governance practice and be transparent in its processes. The WPBSA will continue to champion the sport and do everything it can to obtain Olympic status for Billiard Sports.

And today, David Cauldfield reports that, in a letter to IBSF and its members, Jason Ferguson strongly refutes the IBSF allegations.

Again, here is a large excerpt but, again, I strongly recommend that you read David’s full article to understand the context:

Ferguson said: “The principle of the MoU between the IBSF and the WPBSA and the proposed formation of the WSF were originally approved by the IOC.”

“Numerous meetings have been held between the IBSF and the WPBSA in order to try to agree the establishment of the WSF, without success.

“As you well know, the key obstacle to achieving that objective has been the actions of the IBSF due to its fear that the WSF would replace the IBSF, as you have referenced in your letter.

“It has been the IBSF which has blocked the incorporation of the WSF, not the WPBSA as you falsely claim.

“The WPBSA’s view was that the WSF should be incorporated as an English company to help to ensure that it had appropriate governance standards and transparency.

“We had proposed that the WSF should be a company limited by guarantee (being the form of entity adopted by many other sports governing bodies, including The European Billiards & Snooker Association (EBSA)).

“We had however also suggested an alternative proposal, for the WSF to be incorporated in Switzerland, being the jurisdiction of the IOC and many other international federations.”

….

Ferguson also lambasted the IBSF’s “extraordinary and nonsensical assertion that the IBSF is the sole official governing body for snooker.”

“The WPBSA has acted as a governing body to the World Snooker Tour for many years, as well as supporting many amateur federations and sports development initiatives.

“The only other body which has previously been considered the official governing body of billiard sports in the world was the Billiards and Snooker Control Council, the business and assets of which (including but not limited to all intellectual property and other rights to snooker and English Billiards) were acquired by the WPBSA in the 1990’s.”

“The WPBSA has never tried to exploit the WCBS for its own commercial interests, WPBSA is a not for profit international sports federation and any money generated is reinvested back into the sport.

“In fact, the WPBSA has only ever supported the WCBS in its aims and objectives.

“This has included the payment of membership fees and expenses to key third party
organisations when the WCBS was not in a position to make payments.

Ferguson later stated that “the WPBSA has not tried to ‘erase the IBSF from the world snooker scene’.”

“In line with the feedback from the IOC, the WPBSA does strongly believe that one worldwide governing body for snooker is a necessary step to maximise its chances of attaining an Olympic place.”

“The WPBSA also believes that, due to the WCBS’s refusal to comply with IOC-recognised governance best practice, there is now no question that new arrangements will need to be put in place to achieve the Olympic ambitions.”

So where does this leave us?

What we are facing is a war, or at best a bitter divorce,  between the body in charge of the professional game, and the main organisation in charge of the amateur game at international level. The first obvious consequence of this conflict is that several traditional routes for amateurs to access the professional status are now closed, leaving us basically with the Q-School as the sole option, and, as I explained previously, the Q-School system, in its current form, is extremely biased in favour of UK players and not adequate to help snooker’s development as a global sport.

I don’t think that WPBSA in its current form and size, has the means, structures and resources – financial and human – to cater for the amateur game and the countless national and regional bodies in charge, neither that it has the desire to get deeply involved at the amateur level. Without a strong amateur field, a sport is doomed, just like a plant cut off its roots. Already now, there aren’t that many young players coming through except from China where the state invests in the sport and structures are in place to nurture talents.

I don’t know the full facts, so I won’t make definite judgements, or name names, but there is one thing I’m very certain about: this is a fight for power and control over snooker: egos and financial interests are clashing badly, and some people involved don’t care one bit for the sport, they only care for their status and money, not the good of the game. This is always true, in any instance of war or conflict, and this is a war. It’s extremely bad and worrying. We didn’t need this.