Blackball Pool Unification

world pool association blackball
Blackball has modernised the 'small-table' pool game and taken it out of the stone age!
In September 2004, the World Pool Association (WPA) organised a meeting in London to discuss the future of 8ball pool and to announce the anticipated 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.
Here's what was concluded...
The meeting was attended by :
  • Ian Anderson (Australia) President of the World Pool Association
  • Peter Hawley (South Africa), World Pool Association 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 away 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. 
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.

The European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) issued this 'Press Release' in September 2005...
The EPBF, has for some time now been trying to promote the game of Blackball, with the staging of European Championships alongside the Seniors 9ft European Championships.
It was decided that the discipline should be modified to incorporate the small table game played largely in Great Britain known as English 8 ball.
With this in mind, the EPBF invited all associations from Great Britain to a meeting last September. Here, a goal was set to modify the rules and create a governing body specifically for this discipline.
The committee that was formed, has met several times since then and have also taken the advice from the top players as to how the rules should be changed, although some of the top players were banned from their Association from giving any imput.
Remembering that there is approximately 19 different sets of rules played in Great Britain alone, the task was not easy.
Its Chairman elect, Mr Martin Kirwan has worked to deadlines and completed the tasks set by the EPBF.
At our last meeting during the World Games, the finishing touches were put into the new governing body for Blackball. This will be known as the European Blackball Association, EBA.
The association is and will always be an elected board with terms of election stated in the association statutes. The EBA, although under the wings of the EPBF, will govern itself and remain autonomous.
The new rules will be presented to the World Pool Association at its general assembly this September in Austria. The EBA along with the WPA will be responsible for creating a world governing body for Blackball which will then work in the same way.
Creating the EBA has given the small table game the recognition it never had before. Blackball and its members and future members, through the EPBF-WPA will be recognised by the highest governing body for billiard sport, the WCBS, which in turn is recognised by the highest governing body for all sports, the IOC.
If billiards of any form is to participate at the highest level then it will only be those associations/nations which are within this structure.
The up-coming European Championships for Blackball will be the last under the rules as they stand now.
The new rules will come into force from the 1st of January 2006. It is a new beginning for Blackball and the EPBF are pleased to have another large community within its structure
Vice President, EPBF
September 2005
Blackball rules were presented and ratified at the World Pool Association's AGM in Klagenfurt, Austria over the 23rd and 24th of September 2005. On 29th September 2005 the rules first appeared on the WPA's web site. The new rules for the 'small table' did indeed come into force on 1st January 2006.

Much of what had been hoped for has been achieved and those who persist in promoting and playing outdated versions of 8ball are becoming increasingly marginalised.
There is no doubt that pool players were for years let down by the antics of devious officials intent only upon self-preservation. Sadly there's always a danger that organisations may suffer at the hands of incompetent or shady characters who, having gained positions of influence, hold back progress.
The hope for the future is that as the game continues to grow in popularity the very best administrators and promoters are recruited who possess the requisite skills, integrity of purpose and imagination to develop the sport of blackball.

An exciting development was announced in December of 2016. Blackball International (BI) issued a statement announcing that the International Chinese Eightball Association (ICEA) had become a member of their organisation. Amongst other things this means that Chinese Eightball events will be played at the World Blackball Championships in 2018 in Australia.

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