The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced its involvement in a new era of sports governance for snooker and billiards with the official launch of the World Snooker Federation (WSF).
The WSF brings together both amateur and professional snooker and will be a key organisation as snooker looks to take its place on the Olympic and Paralympic programme.
The WSF has been formally established as a not for profit International Sports Federation (IF) in Switzerland.
The WSF will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, home to many influential international sports organisations, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The WSF is open to accepting membership from Regional Bodies and National Federations across the world that share its vision to grow the sport at all levels.
With the support of these Bodies and Federations the WSF will now form part of an international structure for snooker and billiards in which National Federations can develop new and exciting opportunities.
For the past seven years the WPBSA and World Snooker have established many new events working in close co-operation with National Federations such as the Indian Open, Riga Open, 6 Reds world Championship in Thailand and various ranking events in China.
The growth of the sport through these relationships and the increased commercialisation of the tour through World Snooker has enabled the WPBSA to make significant investments in grassroots development projects.
Projects such as World Disability Snooker, the World Women’s Snooker Tour, Cue Zone into Schools supported by accredited coaching programmes are all now gaining momentum.
It is the WPBSA’s wish to work closely with many more National Federations around the world and this can now be achieved through the World Snooker Federation members.
The WSF will also provide vital playing opportunities through the staging of a unified WSF Amateur Championship.
This new, mixed gender event will be open to the elite performing players of National Federations who are members of the WSF and provide an opportunity to qualify for a place on the World Snooker Tour.
The first staging of this Championship will take place before the start of the next (2018/19) World Snooker Tour season.
The WPBSA has already announced that it will assist with the funding of a new Challenge Tour which will work alongside the World Snooker Tour to developing elite pathways for top amateurs and new emerging talent. National Federations who are WSF Members will have further opportunities to host some of these events.
The WSF will be run by a board of directors who will ensure that appropriate governance and accounting practices are in place.
The board will be supported by a newly constituted Council comprising up to 10 people from across the globe representing different regions and continents.
The WSF is committed to bringing together a truly diverse and multinational team.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Following a restructure of the professional sport in 2010, the World Professional Snooker Tour has never been stronger.”
“We have seen unprecedented growth and we are now a truly global sport.
“With this growth comes a responsibility for us to ensure sustainable career pathways for elite talent and playing opportunities for all at all levels.
“We must ensure there are no barriers in our sport, no matter of politics, race, gender or disability.
“Only when we achieve this, can we be considered to be a ‘true sport’. There are some incredible people around the world, company directors, players, officials and referees, many of whom serve our sport as volunteers.
“It is the vision of the WSF to engage with these individuals from within our sports international community.”
To serve the best interests of snooker and billiards and to achieve the aspirations to become an Olympic and Paralympic sport, it has been necessary to reconfigure the IF structure in billiard sports to ensure adherence to the highest standards of integrity, transparency and governance.