We regret to inform billiards enthusiasts and all cue sports lovers that the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS) has threatened to ban any player who competes in the World Billiards Championship and Singapore Open in Singapore in November. This is terrible news for our sport.
The ACBS threat of a ban, not yet communicated uniformly to all affected players and countries, but advised to several players, is that players “will be banned if they play in any event not sanctioned by the regional governing body or the IBSF”. This means that players risk being banned if they play in any event in Asia that is not sanctioned by the ACBS, and this would presumably include snooker (masters, open, junior, women’s, 6 red).
It is worth noting that no other regional body has ever made a threat like this. All other regional bodies encourage international events in their region as they are good for the players and help raise the profile of the sport. The ACBS threat is not good for either the players or the sport.
World Billiards will not reciprocate in any way to this threat. We accept players of all genders, ages, nationalities and abilities and we do not ban or threaten to ban players from competing wherever and whenever they wish, except for disciplinary breaches.
The World Championship and Singapore Open will proceed as planned, as will the rest of our calendar around the world.
This appalling threat from the ACBS raises many questions: What level of events are included in the threat? Does this include any open event in Asia? Does this include invitationals, Q school, amateur wild cards into WST events? For how long would players be banned? What is the appeal process? What does the ACBS hope to achieve with this ban? How will this help grow and promote the sport in Asia? Why would the ACBS want Asian players to have less opportunities to compete? After this last minute attack on the World Billiards Championship (announced months ago), why would any organisation risk bringing an international event to Asia? What are they scared of? Did they not learn anything from the threat of a ban a few years ago by another organisation?
We think Asian National Sporting Associations and players are entitled to answers to these questions and they should be seeking answers from the ACBS without delay. Let’s hope National Sporting Associations across Asia will stand up for the rights of their players to be free from threats such as this one.
This is a sad day for our sport and for players everywhere, but particularly for our friends from Asia who will be denied playing opportunities that are available to the rest of the world.
We stand alongside the affected players.