The International Federation of Billiards and Snooker is looking for a new host for its World Championships after Malta pulled out of staging the 2017 edition.
Malta had been due to host the prestigious amateur tournament in November but “due to circumstances beyond their control” have let the IBSF know that they will not be fulfilling the obligation.
The IBSF has offered the championships, in which there is scheduled to be Men’s, Women’s, and Masters events, to other member countries that feel capable of putting together the show in a short space of time.
Apparently, however, there is a reserve venue lined up already just in case no other country responds with a good offer before August 18th.
IBSF General Secretary Mohammad Kammah said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused through this late change but it is totally outside our control.”
This announcement comes during a turbulent time for the IBSF, who in the last few weeks has been involved in a major spat with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
The IBSF World Championship has been heralded for many decades as the most prestigious global amateur event in snooker, with the likes of Ken Doherty, Jimmy White, Stuart Bingham, and Stephen Maguire lifting the Men’s title in the past.
Yet, following the World Games in July, the WPBSA announced that it was severing all ties with the IBSF, thus taking away the Main Tour card that was for a long time available to IBSF World Championship winners.
The likes of Iranian Soheil Vahedi and Chinese duo Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong all earned their spots on the professional circuit thanks to claiming the IBSF World Championship in recent years.
Whether this altercation with the WPBSA has anything to do with Malta’s retraction from hosting this year’s event isn’t clear, but either way it’s another major blow to the IBSF.
Who all this affects the most are the players, who now face an uncertain future playing in the international amateur scene.
For aspiring amateur cueists from the likes of Pakistan, India, Thailand, China, Iran, and throughout Europe, the IBSF World Championship was the holy grail which led to a potentially lucrative career on the Main Tour.
With that opportunity now gone, it’s a wonder how the IBSF can continue to attribute the same level of prestige to its event and attract the same number of quality players from around the world.
Only time will tell how this will play out.