'World League will revive billiards'

Sethi hopes WBL will change the fortunes of three-ball format

Although snooker and pool have grown in popularity over the years, billiards -- the primary form of cue sports -- has seen a sharp decline with very little activity.

Apart from being considered ‘boring’ by many -- including professional cueists – a major reason behind the stagnation of the three-ball sport is the lack of events and two world bodies who organise just one world championship every year that has forced many to switch their focus to snooker.

In a bid to revitalise the struggling game, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and (WPBSA), the International Billiards and Snooker Federation – the amateur body – and English Billiards Open Series (EBOS) have got together to form World Billiards League.

“It (WBL) is basically the WPBSA and the IBSF and they got together along with the people running the EBOS and decided to form one body,” said veteran cueist Geet Sethi, who has been elected as a WBL Board of Director along with compatriot Devendra Joshi.

Amateur event

“Because, the WPBSA was running only one tournament in a year -- the World Championship – and the IBSF was running only one amateur event, the sport has taken a beating. EBOS was running a whole circuit, albeit very small tournaments (7-8 events). “I think coming together of the bodies and have a proper circuit is a good move, so that we can have 8-12 tournaments across the world through the year, have one World Championship and give ranking points.

WPBSA venture

“The whole concept was initiated by the WPBSA. Further, we’ll be forming an Asia-Pacific sub-committee, of which I will be the chairman and we will appoint the committee to run and organise the tournaments in this part of the world -- Asia, Australia and New Zealand,” added Sethi.

While mentioning that the events will be conducted in both the traditional time format and the shorter points format, Sethi said a complete clarity on the WBL will emerge after its board meeting in October.

“The calendar will be out after the World Championship in October. Devendra and I need to work on the dates for India. We have to be in touch with Singapore (Peter Gilchrist), with Australia and by October when we come back from Leeds we should have everything set for January 1.

“Hopefully, we would be able to release the calendar by the first week of November for the entire year,” said Sethi, a seven-time world champion.

Detailing the current plans, Sethi said they plan to stage 4-5 ranking events in Europe, one each in Thailand, Singapore, Australia and India. “The plan is to have at least 10-12 events in 2013 with the World Championship in India. The intention is to make India as a permanent venue for the Worlds.”

WBL Board of Directors: Alan Chamberlain (Chairman, England), Jim Burke (IT, Scotland), Jim Leacy (IBSF, Rep of Ireland), Steve Lock (England), Phil Mumford (Company Secretary, England), Geet Sethi (India), Devendra Joshi (India).
Permanent invitee: Jason Ferguson (Chairman, WPBSA, England).

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