WPBSA Launches Asian Academy
Nigel Mawer Joins WPBSA Board
WPBSA Statement on Maguire/Burnett case
WPBSA Receives 100 per cent support
WPBSA Announces New International Coaching And Development Strategy
World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Chairman Jason Ferguson and six-times World Champion Steve Davis today announced a new coaching scheme aimed at boosting snooker at grassroots level on a worldwide scale.
The WPBSA will integrate its coaching activities with those of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) for a combined effort to spread the growth of snooker to all corners of the globe. The scheme will be headed by snooker legend Steve Davis, a WPBSA director, making use of his vast experience and his technical expertise.
"I've had many wonderful years in snooker and I feel as if it's time to put something back into the sport, and this coaching scheme is an ideal opportunity to do so," said Davis. "Snooker is rapidly becoming a truly global game with the popularity growing in Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and South America and it's time to capitalise on that by getting more young people involved. They are the Ronnie O'Sullivans and Stephen Hendrys of the future."
Ferguson said: "Our strategy is to increase the number of coaches at all levels globally and make them fully accessible to schools, clubs and community groups. The intention is to show the basics of our sport to young people and increase the numbers participating. This is a historic moment for our sport, to work alongside our colleagues at the IBSF and assist the spread of snooker through their 82 National Governing Bodies to make this an international programme."
IBSF President Pascal Guillaume said: "Since the IBSF Coaching Academy was formed in 2005, we have put many initiatives together - but none approach the importance of the agreement we announce today. To work hand in hand with the WPBSA, and Steve Davis, in this area will make it so much easier for the game to grow to its full potential - and for all our plans to come to fruition."
Chris Lovell, of North Lancs Training Group, will take up the position of development and coaching co-ordinator while the IBSF's head of coaching Nic Barrow will play a key role in training and international integration.
Anyone interested in helping the growth of snooker by becoming a coach can contact WPBSA's Bristol office on 0117 317 8200.
WPBSA Board Receives Vote Of Confidence
Snooker's governing body, under the leadership of Jason Ferguson, was given a huge vote of confidence with victory at the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's Annual General Meeting in Sheffield today.
The sport of snooker has gone through a major restructure this year and the WPBSA now controls the governance of the sport and represents the interests of the professional players.
The sport's commercial entity, World Snooker, has generated new interest in snooker this season on a global scale, with more tournaments with innovative formats and increased prize money. Further new events are planned for next season, including one in Brazil, one in Thailand and more in China.
Ferguson retained his position as Chairman, while former Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent David Douglas, six-times World Champion Steve Davis, former referee Alan Chamberlain and Zhang Xiaoning of the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association also retained their positions on the board.
Ferguson said: "The board and I welcome this vote of confidence from the membership, which provides us with the stability we need to move forward. However, there is a huge task ahead and we must not be complacent following this period of radical change.
"This board had been carefully put together and represents the global direction in which we are heading. Each individual member of the board brings a different and highly-valued skill."
The full voting results were:
Jason Ferguson. Votes for: 31 Votes against: 3
Alan Chamberlain. Votes for: 21 Votes against: 11
Steve Davis. Votes for: 26 Votes against: 7
David Douglas. Votes for: 28 Votes against: 5
Zhang Xiaoning. Votes for: 31 Votes against: 3
Les Barton. Votes for: 6 Votes against: 25
Lee Doyle. Votes for: 6 Votes against: 28
Patrick Fagan. Votes for: 4 Votes against: 27
Tony Knowles. Votes for: 7 Votes against: 24
Jim McMahon. Votes for: 4 Votes against: 29
Neil Tomkins. Votes for: 3 Votes against: 28
WPBSA Makes Key Appointments Following October 6 Board Meeting
An invitation to join the board of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has been formally accepted by Mr Zhang Xiaoning of the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association, subject to approval from the Ministry of Sport in China.
Mr Zhang Xiaoning is a leading figure in sports administration in China, with roles including Director of Multi-ball Administrative Centre of State General Administration of Sports, Member of the Chinese Olympic Committee and Chairman of CBSA.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: "This is a key appointment in terms of the international development of our sport. With a growing number of Chinese and Asian players on the professional tour, we firmly believe that those members should have a representative from their part of the world on the board."
Former referee Alan Chamberlain has been co-opted on to the board. Chamberlain refereed on snooker's professional circuit for 28 years before retiring earlier this year. He took charge of many televised finals, including the 1997 World Championship and eight Masters finals at Wembley.
Ferguson said: "Over many years, Alan has worked at the highest level of impartiality. He will play an important role on the board in our function as owner and governer of the rules and regulations of the sport."
Chamberlain added: "I'm sure I can pass on some of my knowledge and experience and be of assistance to the WPBSA board."
Sindhu Pulsirivong has been made President of the WPBSA. He has been President of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand since 1988 and is also President of the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports, which is the most senior governing body for snooker in Asia, and a board member of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation.
Ferguson added: "We are also thrilled to appoint Sindhu as President. Thailand, like China, is a growing market for our sport and Sindhu has been a great supporter of snooker over the years.
"These appointments represent our belief in the future globalisation of our sport. This now completes the board and we will be asking the members to support it."
Hearn And Ferguson Build Stronger International Relations
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn and WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson were in Thailand last month to meet the country's Prime Minister and most senior snooker officials.
Hearn and Ferguson visited Thailand after a stay in China for the Roewe Shanghai Masters. Ferguson said: "Snooker is already very popular in Thailand but there is still great potential for growth. We are of course a global governing body and it is our belief that we need to open our doors further to the growth of snooker in the whole of Asia."
Lord Stevens To Oversee Snooker's Integrity Unit
Lord Stevens, World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn and WPBSA Disciplinary Committee head David Douglas joined foces to launch snooker's new Integrity Unit.
The three key strands of the Integrity Unit - Intelligence, Prevention and Investigation - are designed to eliminate all forms of corruption from snooker.
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord John Stevens, Chairman of Quest, is one of the world's leading experts on tackling corruption in sport. In recent years, Quest have led a number of inquiries in world sport including work with the FA Premier League, the FEI and the FIA.
He said: "Integrity is non-negotiable. Sport will only move forward if we show to the world that we are fully committed to clean and fair sport at all levels. Independent Integrity Units are a best practice model which have already been implemented by other international sports.
"Integrity is about fair play right across sport, not just about competitors and officials. It as much about protecting the innocent as it is about trying to prevent and identify irregular practices. All of us involved in sport have a duty to ensure that our sports are clean. Otherwise, the sports we love are under threat."
Hearn said: "Setting up the Integrity Unit is a process we started several months ago - before the John Higgins case came about - by bringing David Douglas on to the board. Snooker is a sport associated with honesty and sportsmanship, we've all seen countless occasions where players have owned up to fouls not spotted by the referee.
"Unfortunately in recent months we've had some high profile cases which have tarnished the image of the game, and it's vital for the future of snooker that we stamp out corruption and make sure we are clean, and perceived as clean by the viewing public. We have made massive strides forward commercially this year with new and successful events with exciting formats. But that progress must not be hindered by any form of corruption.
"We must stop the problems at the root and provide a massive deterrent, therefore it is our intention to give life bans to players found in breach of the most serious rules."
Douglas, a former Detective Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, added: "The WPBSA is the regulator for snooker and as such has as a key role in the protection of the sport's integrity. In order for the sport to maintain and grow interest it has to be, and seen to be, clean and fair."
He also outlined the three strands of the Integrity Unit:
The WPBSA should be able to receive information through many channels to be held and analysed centrally. Certain types of intelligence may be highly sensitive and the WPBSA must have a robust system to protect confidential sources. A full information security plan must be in place to ensure that any data received by the WPBSA is stored securely.
- Education and publicity
- Ongoing analysis of intelligence and strategic assessments to continue to identify best practice and methods of prevention for the WPBSA.
The WPBSA will provide an investigative capacity in order that intelligence can be acted upon efficiently, proportionately and appropriately to focus on proving or disproving any information or allegation indicating malpractice.
Below is a statement from WPBSA following the Sport Resolutions UK hearing on September 7 and 8.
Click the link to the Word document at the bottom of the page to see the Summary of the Decision from Mr Mill QC.
A hearing under the auspices of Sport Resolutions UK on September 7 and 8, 2010, heard of charges which John Higgins admitted through his lawyers before the hearing. The charges were 1. Intentionally giving the impression to others that he was agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules, though it was accepted that he had no intention of throwing any frame of snooker for reward. 2. Failing to disclose promptly to the Association full details of an approach or invitation to act in breach of the betting rules
Having studied all of the evidence in its entirety, the WPBSA and Sports Resolutions accept that there has been no dishonesty on the part of John Higgins and accordingly the WPBSA has withdrawn the allegations of match fixing against him.
The judgement from Sport Resolutions was that John Higgins was banned from all World Snooker tournaments for six months, starting from the initial suspension on May 2, 2010, and ordered to pay a fine of £75,000 plus costs of £10,000.
The WPBSA referred the matter to the independent body Sport Resolutions following a Disciplinary Committee investigation into allegations made against John Higgins in the News of the World newspaper on May 2, 2010.
John Higgins has agreed to play a leading role in a new educational programme for snooker players, which will form part of the Integrity Unit to be set up by WPBSA Disciplinary Committee Chairman David Douglas.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "John made a mistake in failing to report the meeting in Kiev. He has admitted this mistake and expressed great regret at what happened. The evidence, which has been exhaustively studied by David Douglas and Sport Resolutions, suggests that he was led into this situation and did not instigate any discussions of corrupt activity. It seems certain, in view of his previous record and the ambassadorial work he has done for snooker, that this was a mistake he will never repeat. I'm sure Sport Resolutions took these factors into account in coming to their verdict.
"The new educational programme will teach players, particularly the new professionals coming into the game, about the pitfalls associated with betting and make clear the standards expected by the WPBSA. John has suffered a devastating blow to his career and reputation, but he can come back from it - and he has pledged to help others learn from his experiences. The programme will be a key part of the Integrity Unit's goal to proactively address any form of corruption and make our sport a standard bearer for sports integrity. Today's outcome is a positive step towards this goal and, with the support of all the players, I fully believe that it will be achieved."
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: "I am pleased to see this matter concluded in an open and transparent fashion, after a hearing staged by an independent body. I look forward to the creation of the anti-corruption unit, which will be in operation very shortly and will give the WPBSA the best possible assistance in our ambition to eliminate all forms of corruption from our sport. It is important now that snooker moves forward from this matter and focuses on the successful new era which has formed in recent months."
John Higgins was suspended immediately after the allegations were made public. His six-month ban is considered to have started from the date of his initial suspension in May 2010.
Pat Mooney has been permanently suspended from the WPBSA following the hearing.
The hearing heard of charges of 1. Intentionally giving the impression to others that he was agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules. 2. Failing to disclose promptly to the Association full details of an approach or invitation to act in breach of the betting rules
In summary, Mr Mill QC said: "Mr Mooney's conduct is, in my judgment, of a completely different order of seriousness....I was unimpressed by Mr Mooney as a witness and I found much of his account highly implausible....he committed the most egregious betrayals of trust - both in relation to the Association, to which he owed fiduciary obligations as a Director and by reason of his great influence in the world of snooker, and to Mr Higgins whose entire career and professional future he inexplicably put at serious and wholly unjustifiable risk."
The WPBSA referred the matter to Sport Resolutions following a Disciplinary Committee investigation into allegations made against Mooney in the News of the World newspaper on May 2, 2010.
The WPBSA Disciplinary Committee has resolved to refer an investigation arising from the News of the World newspaper's report of May 2, 2010, which contained allegations against John Higgins and Pat Mooney, to a hearing board convened under the auspices of Sport Resolutions UK.
David Douglas, head of the WPBSA's disciplinary committee, said: "Sport Resolutions deals with cases in various sports and is named in WPBSA disciplinary rules. It is completely independent of the WPBSA and we have no doubt that it will bring a fair conclusion to this matter."
There will be no further comment at this stage.
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