BI General Assembly 20/02/2021



Meeting commenced at 21.30 pm (UK Time)


Mark Cottingham – BI Acting President

Ross McInnes 

Saths Reddy – AAPA

Sean Rumbado – EBA

Samantha Cottingham – Australia

Yvonne Ewing 

Paul Coldrick 

Mycherif Zine el Abidine - AAPA 

Ishuan Singh – WPA

Steven Allison - EBA

1.  Opening and Welcome

Mark Cottingham welcomed everyone to the General Assembly.

2.  Apologies:

Kevin Barton – IPA

2.1  Membership of Australia to BI

Previously in 2018 Australia was elected onto the BI board with the view of expanding within Oceania. Discussions with New Zealand have already taken place but due to Covid-19 it has become more difficult to progress. Oceania logo was designed around 3 years ago and the EBA’s Constitution has been adapted for Oceania. At present however implementation would only include Australia as the BI Constitution would need to be changed. 

Australia’s representative included that blackball rules set has progressed rapidly within Australia and we are seeing more high class players wanting to play the rule set.  We have a National Championships in May 2021 and we also have more leagues opening throughout.

Ishuan Singh stated that to comply with the Constitution BI would need to accept Australia again as in 2018 it was carried out incorrectly. The long term view is that Australia would be expanded to Oceania at a future stage.  

Proposed – Sean Rambado - EBA

Seconded – Saths Reddy – AAPA

Australia was welcomed to the BI family.

3.  Adoption of Previous Minutes 

Acting President Mark Cottingham stated that the Minutes from the previous GA in 2018 had been declared as incorrect by Saths Reddy. Saths Reddy stated that he distributed different Minutes to all the board however no other board member had received any other version than the one presented. Due to no other presentations of these revised Minutes they could not be agreed.

4.  Presentation of Annual Reports

All reports were distributed prior to meeting for reading. Questions were requested from all board members regarding these reports

Presidential Report – No questions

Australia Members Report – No questions

AAPA Members Report – No questions

5. Finances

Treasurer’s Report was distributed prior to meeting for reading and is attached to these Minutes for reference.  

Ross McInnes stated that BI didn’t have a bank account nor any money prior to 2018. BI are now trying to move forward and all monies are being paid into the new bank account. Mike Leavens and Ross were original signatories however Mike has now been taken off. There is a balance now in BI bank account. No monies has been spent apart from a subscription to Zoom to enable communication worldwide including the General Assembly.

There are Issues with the bank account as it’s only accessible in UK and you need 2 signatories. Currently there is only 1 signatory. There is no internet banking allowed and therefore this is proving difficult for operational purposes. These issues need to be resolved and a bank account needs to be worldwide or we find another signatory. Currency options were discussed as to whether the bank should be in Euro’s rather than GBP. Going forward it was agreed the account would be in Euro. Statements have been circulated to Mark Cottingham.  

No memberships have been paid for the past 12 months due to Covid-19 however any Countries that have paid will have their membership rolled over.

6.  Memberships/Special Members

China Membership

There are no historical documentations or Minutes of any BI meetings up to the 2018 General Assembly Minutes produced by Saths Reddy (which are now disputed as being inaccurate) therefore there is no documentation regarding China being accepted by BI or the terms.  

Mark Cottingham said there has been very little communication from China and there have been disputes with the Contract between BI and China. 

Sean Rumbado discussed that Joy are not blackball representatives of China but rather a table operator for Chinese 8 ball. They are not the governing body of blackball in China and they do not and have not promoted blackball.

Ishuan Singh said that Joy should not have been allowed to become members of BI and as with Australia due to no documentation they would have to re-apply to become the BI country member and also commit to creating Asian blackball Continental member.

Mark Cottingham discussed if Malaysia are to become the BI Member then Danny Gee needs to apply to BI for membership with a view to forming the Continental body. Mark Cottingham to speak to Danny Gee regarding submitting an application for BI to consider.

Ross McInnes stated that 3 countries in Asia have already shown interest in blackball – India, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. India is huge within the cue market and it was agreed that contacts within these interested parties should be passed onto the Mark Cottingham for BI to follow up.

It was agreed that China not continue to be the Continent member for Asia and we should request Danny Gee from Malaysia to apply.

Africa Membership

Discussion were held regarding the set up within Africa, the bodies and the funding. The cue sport politics within Africa was explained by Ishuan Singh including the government structure that oversees APPA. It was considered whether having a separate blackball Association in Africa which deals with blackball only to try and alleviate any issues between different rule sets. APPA would consider this however Ishuan Singh stated that it would be creating the same organisation as APPA as blackball is the main cue sport for APPA. Ishuan Singh stated that APPA is close to getting blackball into the African Games.

Consideration of forming a separate management committee being formed under AAPA where AAPA only pay for the countries that actually play blackball to help with the funds needed in Africa. It was considered if that this idea should be taken back to the APPA committee for representatives to come forward and run this committee. Paul Coldrick stated that this is how France works and it works really well and it means that blackball committee can be voted in by blackball players. Following further discussion it was agreed that this should be reviewed in 6-12 month’s time. 

Saths Reddy is to follow up on Burundi who contacted Mark Cottingham and showed interest in attending the World Championships in Australia. Ghana also showed interest in attending. Saths explained that the majority of interest would have been for an invitation for the opportunity to travel to that Country and not return.

It was agreed that for any future events any interest placed by additional countries will be forwarded to the relevant Continent member with the communication BI has received. The Continent will then provide a formal response to BI once followed up.

There have been no issues with APPA’s conduct but more bad information coming out of Africa.  

It was agreed that the APPA should continue to be the Continental African member

Special Members

The IPA’s Chairman Kevin Barton’s absence was considered and the board agreed to continue with this item given Kevin had written to the board to request a voting position on the board. No documentation is available for the acceptance of IPA as a Special Member.  

The conduct of the IPA was discussed including banning of players should they play other forms of blackball or attend other blackball events and how this goes against the ethics of BI. The board considered voting membership and also the fact that all Continental members have to operate in agreeance with BI Constitution. If there were any issues then BI could take actions to discipline the Continental member. As the IPA is a company and currently does what it wants this leave BI in a compromising position. The Chairman of the IPA has communicated to BI that he will not abide by any direction of BI.

Samantha Cottingham stated that BI has a responsibility to players to ensure that any association BI has with memberships, players, companies etc it has to be on an ethical and responsible level. Without the documentation it is important for BI to have a formal acceptance in Minute form of the acceptance of the IPA to BI. It maybe just a process for the IPA to be a Special Member but it ensures there is no further ambiguity going forward.

Sean Rumbado stated that if there was to be any truth in banning of players or financial misconduct then BI reputation and the brand would be in jeopardy and ensure that all links are in line with BI’s Constitution. It was agreed that the IPA can not have the status of a Continent.

World Pool Ltd was discussed and it was confirmed that BI gave no recognition to World Pool Ltd it merely stated that BI would not support the banning of any player who chose to play in the event. BI supports the progression of blackball events. WPA requested that BI removed the letter displayed on social media saying that BI would not support any ban. BI complied to WPA’s request.

Ishuan Singh stated that BI didn’t create the IPA, they existed from the world rules days. It was going to be a big thing for players to change across to blackball rule set. Ishuan acknowledged that there was no documentation of IPA becoming a Special Member of BI. Kevin Barton has had contact with WPA and Ishuan stated he was certain that the IPA wouldn’t agree.  

Sean Rumbado said that BI do not wish to control what they do however they do have a responsibility to players should a player make a formal complaint and the governing body would have to intervene. The actions of banning goes against what BI stands for and most cue sports.

Ishuan Singh explained that it was the sensible option for the IPA to become a Special member to BI as if they went and affiliated to the WPA there would be a large amount of money having to be paid for each tournament that they run. If they have 6 or 10 events they will be charged a fee so the membership to BI was the cheapest way for them to run and also gain the recognition.

It was asked of Ishuan Singh if the IPA went directly to the WPA how would WPA deal with the allegations of banning players. WPA apparently deal with this all the time and they ban players from playing in events if they feel it is detrimental to a player playing in an event.  They have however only banned 2 players in their history.  

It was questioned whether the IPA is the professional body of BI or the professional body of the WPA? If they are the body of BI their decisions regarding how they operate should be that they operate as per BI rules. Ishuan Singh stated that if the IPA were under the WPA and there was a formal complaint to the WPA about players not receiving prize monies then the WPA would intervene and deal with this misconduct.

Ishuan stated that the IPA when they came across to BI wanted to have autonomy however they also wanted the recognition. Ross McInnes stated that if IPA want to be recognised within BI then they have to abide by BI rules.  They can’t have it both ways.  

Mark Cottingham asked Ishuan Singh if IPA was to go directly to the WPA what status would they be given. Ishuan Singh said that they would be given promoter status only. The WPA would request payment from the IPA for any events that they run and then they can use the WPA logo.

Mark Cottingham asked if IPA would be recognised by WPA under the promoters status and Ishuan Singh said that they wouldn’t have recognition just promoter status. Mark Cottingham asked if the WPA would have to abide by the WPA Constitution and Ishuan Singh said they would so that WPA can protect the players. 

Yvonne Ewing asked if a Special Member would be required to pay the same fee as a Continental member. At present the IPA do not pay any fees to BI. 

Paul Coldrick asked if the IPA refuse to re-apply do we look at another professional body. It was agreed that the best solution was that the IPA re-applied and BI should consider this at a further date if needed.

It was agreed unanimously that BI want IPA to re-apply for Special Membership only with the proviso that they agree to abide by the BI Constitution.

It was agreed unanimously that the BI Constitution needs to be changed to incorporate the terms agreed above for Special Members section.  

It was agreed unanimously that the Special member may be changed to ‘Associated member’ or similar.

It was agreed unanimously that any Special member should have to pay the same amount of membership fee as each country.

Mark Cottingham was to contact Kevin Barton as soon as possible to inform him of the decisions above and communicate as soon as possible.

Membership Fees

At present the Continent fee is per country membership of 50 Euros.  It was discussed whether this should increased to 100 Euros

Discussion on options of applying memberships were discussed and whether we could have a membership based on the number of players that attend a BI event.  

It was agreed that the membership fee would stay the same at 50 GBP per country which would be invoiced to the Continental member. Each continent will take this to their members to increase the fees in 2022 to 100 Euros. An e-mail is to be sent out to all Countries to state that if they wish to donate their membership fee this year BI would welcome this.

It was stated that BI would not be charging a fee again this year due to Covid-19

It was also discussed what sponsors income could happen even though there are no events. Sponsors have been given a year’s extension to their contract due to Covid-19. The Racker is the only existing sponsor in place at present.

Aramith is still under negotiation. Aramith asked to hold off any confirmation until they knew what the
BI board was going forward.

7.  Board Approval to amend the BI Constitution

Mark Cottingham said BI are struggling with people to take positions up on the board with Continental presidents taking on the positions. Mark Cottingham suggested that BI open this up for any individual to take a position on the board. If there players that wish to do this then they must go to their Associations/Federations firstly and get endorsed then to their Country to gain endorsement to come forward for the position. If the EBA and the Country agree then the players will be eligible to put their name in for the position. The only requirements to be met was that the appointments are distributed equally between the Continents so that there is equality of representation.  Any new board positions would be voting positions within the new positions on the board. At present the board votes at board meetings but BI Counsel, which incorporates Samantha Cottingham, Sean Rumbado and Saths Reddy at present, vote at the General Assembly.  

Sean Rumbado stated that he believes that the only voting members should be the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer with an advisory committee which becomes the operational committee and advises the board. These members should come through the Continental body. 

It was also considered whether there should be a non-voting management committee which operates under the board and reports into the board.   

Yvonne Ewing requested role descriptions to be updated and available for distribution to Continents.

Sean Rumbado agreed that we can’t expect Presidents of Associations/Federations being part of the board as they are already wearing too many hats. It should be the best person for the job regardless of where they reside.  As long as they come through their governing body I would agree with the suggestion.

Samantha Cottingham said that if we continue as we are then BI will become non-operational due to the work load of BI and the other responsibilities of the Presidents. This is resulting in BI not progressing as it should be and it is putting a strain on the current people trying to carry all the hats. If BI is going to go forward it has to change the structure.

It was agreed that the BI Constitution should be re-written by a third party and all voting should be delayed until this has been completed. It was also agreed that there should be a confidentiality policy and social media policy in the new Constitution. It was stated that with the re-structure of BI this is the perfect time to have the Constitution re-written. 

It was agreed that BI should draw up vacancies and descriptions to be distributed to the Continental members to see if there are any people wanting to apply. These people should apply through their Continental members to apply for the positions. Each Continent is to put forward 2 representatives for the positions. The President/Vice-president will interview and decide who should be appointed. The appointment of the position should ultimately be the best person for the position. 

Mark Cottingham will organise the role descriptions and distribute to the Continents for advertising.

8.  Voting of Board

President – Mark Cottingham has been acting as President since Saths Reddy’s resignation. No one else has been put forward.  

Proposed – Sean Rumbado

Seconded – Saths Reddy

Mark Cottingham accepted the position of President of Blackball International

There was a nomination for Mycherif Zine el Abidine to become Vice-President however this was deferred until the Constitution has been re-written and the positions have been advertised.

All other positions will be deferred until advertised.

9.  French Survey/WPA Suspension

Paul Coldrick stated that the French survey is irrelevant as the issues with WPA have been resolved. Paul would like the EBA to consider where the game is going and the issue of alcohol around the sport. 

Mark Cottingham stated that with talks from Ishuan Singh there are two options available to BI. We keep as a recognition status but then have to sign a contract to abide by some terms and conditions of WPA. This gives more freedom to operate. This is a board decision within the WPA.

Secondly, BI can be a non-voting member of WPA. We wouldn’t have to sign a contract and to operate under the WPA restrictions. This is a member decision within the WPA.

Ishuan Singh stated that as BI has not been registered anywhere in the world since 2005 he recommended that the Contract option would be the best for BI. Ian Anderson and the board are happy with the progress BI has made in the previous months and they would like to ‘just get this fixed’.

The WPA has one rule. Whenever you are recruiting members you have to go to the WPA member of that country firstly. If they turn you down then you can go anywhere else.

Mark Cottingham requested that WPA would give recognition to BI immediately. Ishuan stated that BI could go to WPA and state that this is BI’s executive and President and the WPA would issue the recognition.  

BI can work over the coming months with registration and Contract, which was agreed by all including Ishuan Singh.

Samantha Cottingham requested that the letter to the WPA get sent immediately so that there can be a formal announcement about the recognition can be issued.

Ishuan Singh agreed to distribute something to BI which would explain what the different options are. Samantha Cottingham asked for a draft contract however Ishuan Singh said that each contract is different and that he could not distribute other contracts for viewing.

Sean Rumbado stated that he would have to distribute this to the EBA members for consideration.

10.  Head Referee & Rules Positions

Mark Cottingham stated unfortunately Jenny Leavens passing Yvonne Ewing has been passed all of the BI information regarding referees. Mark Cottingham has been working with Yvonne over the past few months trying to get the rules amendments clarified. Since 2018 when Saths Reddy distributed the amendment it has not progressed at all. This was 4 years ago.

Yvonne Ewing has been speaking with Viv Ruscoe to work out how to take the referees forward. Viv Ruscoe is working with Australia to set up on line referee exams and sent out as a google.doc straight to the people marking it. Yvonne and Ross will discuss the rule amendments to tie up and clarify and a list will be prepared by Yvonne and issued out.  

There will be an amendment to the rules posters sorted and this can be distributed by e-mail to everyone.

The combination pot rule of three balls pass the middle pocket was discussed and whether BI should adopt also into the new rules. As we can only change the rules at an AGM this would be the time to accept new rules.  

It was agreed that this should be incorporated within the new rules. Yvonne was instructed to add this to the new rule changes.  

11.  Blackball International Events

Unfortunately the Worlds of 2020 was cancelled and BI don’t expect that the Hawley Cup will be taking place. There is no Country currently with a bid for the 2022 Worlds.  

Paul Coldrick stated that there will be a bid put to BI for France to hold the 2022 World Championships.  Mark Cottingham will discuss with France further to provide any information required for France to issue a bid.  

Mark Cottingham stated that the BI board have to be mindful of international travel issues and the impact of Covid-19. 

12.  Any other business

No other business

13. Date of Next General Assembly

To be held at the next World Championships or via Zoom if required.

14.  Closing of Meeting

Meeting closed at 01.11am (UK time) Mark Cottingham


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