Billiards, Blackball and the Olympics

This is a summary of the structure and hierarchy of the major billiards organisations.
It is worth noting that the term billiards is used here as a generic label for all cue games. However in some parts of the world it does have a more specific meaning.
In the United Kingdom it frequently refers to the game of 'English' billiards played with two cue balls and a red object ball.
In the USA and elsewhere the generic meaning is widely employed and pool for example is referred to as a form of 'pocket' billiards.

The World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS) is the umbrella organisation representing the cue sports of Carom, Snooker and Pool.
In order to fulfil the condition set by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), namely that all billiard sports be represented by a single organisation, a meeting was convened in 1990 in the city of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
The major individual organisations operating under the auspices of the WCBS have subsequently become the following....
  • The Union Mondiale de Billard (UMB) is the world-body for all carom billiard games. The UMB was created in Madrid in June, 1959 and is dedicated to promote the sport and to monitor and control all international carom billiard competitions.
  • Snooker organisations represent both amateur and professional elements of the game. The primary organisations are the International Billiards and Snooker Association (IBSA) and the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Limited (WPSA)
  • The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards. The first General Assembly of the WPA was held in March, 1990. The acronym WPA was chosen, so as not to conflict with the Women's Professional Billiard Association, already known as the WPBA.
The above mentioned World Pool-Billiard Association now oversees the games of 9-ball, 8-ball, 10-ball, 14.1 (aka continuous pool), Chinese eight-ball and blackball.

Blackball was officially sanctioned by the WPA in 2005 following a meeting in London in 2004 introducing the rules to the cue sports community.
The outcome of that meeting was that, given the recognition and support of the World Pool Association, national pool organisations were able to unite under a single World structure and everyone could play the 'small-table' game to exactly the same rules.

In August of 2008 another organisation came into being. The International Blackball Federation was formed as an official division of the WPA.
These days known as Blackball International (BI) the administrators declare themselves as a group of dedicated people with many years of experience who aim to develop blackball as the most recognised and played pool sport in the world.
Here's the hierarchy of billiard associations worldwide.

billiards organisations

Blackball International has further declared the following aims.
While retaining and respecting the complete autonomy and independence of each member in the administration and running of their individual organisations the aims and objectives of BI are....
  • To unite the “small-ball table” continental and national associations into one international association with only one set of rule play.
  • To cultivate mutual friendships with all other types of international and national pool organisations.
  • To encourage the development of the game of blackball pool as a national, continental and international sport.
  • To create and determine rules and regulations for the game of blackball pool.
  • To adopt a sports policy which is not in conflict with the continental structures of the WPA, WCBS and IOC rules as set forth in the Olympic Charter.
  • BI recognises the anti-doping code of the WPA and is determined to do its utmost in order to keep pool/billiards free from performance-enhancing drugs.
  • BI does not tolerate discrimination against a continent, organisation or individual for reason of race, colour, creed, religion, gender and is politically neutral.
Blackball International is charged with promoting the game and the interests of blackball players in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. In addition BI is responsible for the biennial World Blackball Championships which have been held at worldwide venues since 2006.

In December 2016 Blackball International released a press statement announcing that the International Chinese Eightball Association (ICEA) had become a member of BI. Among other benefits this means that Chinese Eightball tournaments will be held alongside BI events.

The governing body for blackball in Europe is the European Blackball Association (EBA).
The EBA organises two international events. The annual European Championships and the biennial Nations Cup which runs alternately with the World Blackball Championships.

Within the United Kingdom there are four national blackball organisations...
Each of the above organisations run their own national blackball events and select players and teams to represent their country at international level.

There is continuing speculation as to whether billiards will ever become an Olympics sport.
In December 2014 the IOC abolished the cap of twenty-eight sports on the Olympic programme.
This enabled the host city for the 2020 games (Tokyo, Japan) to select extra sports for the games.
The WCBS entered a bid to be one of the additional sports for the Tokyo Olympics.
Unfortunately in June 2015 the WCBS was not one of the international federations shortlisted to participate in the next phase in the Tokyo selection process.
However the WCBS has stated that it is committed to obtaining inclusion on the Olympic sports programme for 2024.
The three remaining candidate Olympic venues are Budapest, Los Angeles, and Paris.