The New Zealand publication, “Billiards Letter”, was issued for the
last time in December. Ray Habgood, who has lately been solely
responsible for its production has decided “to spend more time actually
playing billiards”. Covering general items of billiards news, but mainly
recording happenings in New Zealand, the Newsletter first appeared in
December 1995 and had a World-wide circulation.
The IBSF have renewed their Internet presence with a relaunch of their
website which is scheduled for February. Their previous site, which
was maintained under a sponsorship deal with The Sportsmasters
Network (TSN), was abandoned shortly after this sponsorship was
withdrawn, just one year into a projected six year deal. The address of
the new site will be http://www.ibsf.org
Professional Billiards in crisis
From an initial undertaking to maintain the WBA billiards budget at
£150,000 for the current season, this figure was first revised to £50,000
and is currently down to providing £20,000 prize money.
With such limited funds now available, an offer by Malta to stage the
World Professional Championship is being considered, although it is
more likely that this venue will be selected for another attempt to
popularise the short-format game with a 100-up invitation tournament
which also promises to unveil the long-promised appearance of the
striped billiard ball.
This would probably leave enough funds to promote a full-scale
professional participation in next season’s IBSF World Championship.
The position of a consolidated World Championship has been an
objective of the IBSF for some time, and becomes a realistic prospect
for the first time as the WPBSA are clearly running down their
commitment to billiards.
The news of the latest reduction in funding was delivered as a Christmas
present to the 36 professional billiard players who comprise the WBA
membership, and the WPBSA left them in no doubt that even this
meagre level of funding was unlikely to be maintained next season.
Barring an unexpected revival in WPBSA fortunes, there is a distinct
likelihood that the professional billiards circuit, awakened from a
previous period of dormancy in the 1980s by a combination of
independent sponsorship and a brief flirtation with TV coverage, will
be in danger of coming to an end.