Yesterday WST published two posts on their website:
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has today (Wednesday 23 December 2020) held its Annual General Meeting online.
The AGM saw the election of a further two current members to join the first Board of WPBSA Players, a new body which received formal approval as part of a governance review and wider constitutional changes passed at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 25 November.
Eight members stood for election: Nigel Bond, Ding Junhui, Joe Perry, Mark Davis, Rod Lawler, Barry Pinches, Lee Walker and Tian Pengfei.
The result was that Nigel Bond and Ding Junhui were successfully elected by the membership and will join existing directors Ken Doherty, Mike Dunn and Peter Lines on the new WPBSA Players Board.
The AGM also saw the presentation of the Accounts and Directors Report, including the latest independently audited accounts, which were unanimously accepted by the meeting.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “I am today pleased to welcome both Ding Junhui and Nigel Bond to the Board of WPBSA Players following their successful election.
“For over 15 years Ding has been a trailblazer for our sport in Asia following his landmark victory at the 2005 China Open and at last year’s UK Championship he reminded everybody of his class by claiming the title for a third time.
“Away from the baize he has also continues to play a significant role in our sport, having become almost a father figure to many of the young Chinese players competing on the World Snooker Tour. Already he has represented players in China on behalf of our colleagues at the China Billiards & Snooker Association. In this new formalised role, I am sure he will not only be a fantastic representative for Asian players, but for all players who travel great distances living away from home within our sport. Part of our vision to create WPBSA Players was to increase global representation within key roles and I am delighted to this is now becoming a reality.
“Like Ding, Nigel Bond is a former World Championship finalist who brings to the board a wealth of experience at all levels having maintained an unbroken spell on our tour dating back to 1989. A former World Seniors champion, he remains capable of competing at the highest level as he showed with his stunning victory against world number one Judd Trump last year in York.
“Alongside his playing career, he has also become a successful coach around the world and has become an integral part of the WPBSA Coaching Programme, sharing his experience to help train the next generation of qualified snooker coaches.
“I am confident that both will bring significant value to WPBSA Players and that the recently announced constitutional changes will achieve our goal of better serving our member players, as well as furthering the world class governance and development of our great sport.”
First of all congratulations to Ding Junhui and Nigel Bond!
I was surprised when I read that Ding was running for a seat on the board. He’s only 33 and it’s hard to combine a playing career at the top and the duties of a member of the board. Shaun Murphy found it difficult and eventually stepped down from the board to concentrate on his career. On the other hand, China has been investing a lot of money into the game in recent years. About one in six main tour player is from China, including 15 of the 27 players aged under 25. It’s obvious that they need a voice on the board, they need to be represented, and who would be better equipped than Ding for the role? He has the required status, both in the sport and in his country, his command of English is now excellent.
Plans to stage the Snooker World Cup in the city of Wuxi in China in 2021 are taking shape, with 24 national teams to battle for the coveted trophy.
WST is currently in discussion with partners in China, with the ambition to hold the event early in the 2021/22 season.
Higgins names the moment of lifting the trophy as one of the proudest moments of his glittering career. He said: “The pressure is tenfold compared to playing for yourself. When I first played with Stephen (Maguire), I played a deciding frame against Mark Allen and lost. I’d never felt pressure like it in all of my life. World Championship finals, you name it.
“To win it was a brilliant feeling – the proudest feeling in the world. Scotland haven’t got many World Champions so we were delighted to win it for our country. I always feel that if I am lucky enough to get into the team, I’ll be with a very good partner and we’ll have a chance to win it again.”
The Snooker World Cup has a tremendous history having first been staged in 1979. Wuxi, in China’s Jiangsu Province, hosted the event in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Further details on the 2021 World Cup, including the teams and format, will be announced in due course.
The World Cup has been hosted in Wuxi before, including the last edition, so it’s maybe just coincidence that this announcement comes at the same time as Ding’s election as member of the board. However, Ding was born in Yixing, in Jiangsu province, and Wuxi is a major city in Jiangsu, only about 90 km from Yixing, Ding’s presence on the board can only help opening doors in his country, and in particular in his “home” region.