Blackball Pool Unification 2004

In September 2004, the World Pool Association (WPA) organised a meeting in London to discuss the future of the 'small-table' game of 8ball pool and to announce the introduction of blackball pool rules.
Over preceding years different versions of 8ball rules had brought about confusion amongst players and antagonism between self-appointed 'governing bodies' which had sprung up to administer the game.
The following is an extract from the WPA report as it was published shortly after that meeting.

" The meeting was attended by :
  • Ian Anderson (Australia), President of the World Pool Association
  • Peter Hawley (South Africa), WPA Development Director
  • David Morris, Vice President of the European Pocket Billiards Federation (EPBF)
  • Martin Kirwan, Chairman of the European and United Kingdom Pool Federation, (EUKPF)
Also present were a number of highly ranked representatives from the home nations; namely Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There was also a representative from the Republic of Ireland.
The group gathered to map out the unification of pool as played by their respective countries on what is commonly known as the 'small ball' or '7ft table' game and now known as 'Blackball'.
The main organiser in England, the English Pool Association (EPA) failed to attend, although invited. With or without this organisation, English players will be represented in the future by the new committee.
Unfortunately, different variations of rules on these tables caused division and unnecessary confusion amongst players and administrators alike. This created cliques and opened the way for petty politics rather than allowing the sport to grow to its full potential worldwide.
"Blackball is the only discipline recognised by the WPA on these tables" Mr Anderson emphatically stressed, doing way with any doubts that might have existed on this topic amongst the attendees.
The representatives agreed to form a controlling body, the EBPF for pool on the 'small table' called the Blackball discipline. Under "one roof" they will be responsible for the European Blackball Championships and for creating events throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Through the existing membership, they will face the task to increase membership, thus paving the way for democratic elections to the committee.
This body will in future affiliate and co-operate with all their counterparts at World level currently playing Blackball and under one roof and be responsible for the World Blackball Championships. Together with the other continental members they will affiliate to the WPA and promote the game of Blackball. It was noted that Africa already features strongly as another continent within the WPA structures actively involved in Blackball.
A single committee will be solely responsible for all events within Europe under the flag of the EPBF. The Blackball World Championships are in planning for 2006, and should then be held annually.
This newly formed body will be the affiliated committee to the EPBF and known as the Blackball division. The EPBF in turn is the continental affiliate to the WPA-WCBS-IOC which gives Blackball the necessary recognition it deserves within the IOC structure.
These affiliations will ensure that players on the continent will for the first time be uniting under a single world structure and be playing to the same rules. This of course means that all Blackball tournaments have the official sanction of the WPA giving players true recognition and world rankings.
The meeting was noted for the enthusiasm amongst the participating countries and the consensus was that this unification was long overdue....the sport can now develop and advance. "
The anticipated outcome of the 2004 meeting was that, given the recognition and support of the World Pool Association, national pool organisations would for the first time be able to unite under a single World structure and everyone could play the game to exactly the same rules.
Much of this has been achieved.
There is no doubt that the interests of pool players had previously suffered due to the antics of devious officials intent only upon self-preservation; but of course even today, as in many walks of life, organisations may suffer at the hands of incompetent or shady characters who gain positions of influence and hold back progress.
The future hope for this sport must be that as the game continues to grow in popularity the very best administrators and promoters are recruited with the necessary skills, integrity of purpose and imagination to develop the sport.

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