Origins of Blackball Pool

In September 2004 the World Pool-Billiard Association organised a meeting in London to discuss the future of eight-ball pool and to announce the anticipated introduction of blackball pool rules.

Over preceding years different versions of eight-ball pool rules for the small table game had brought about confusion for grassroots players and antagonism between various self-appointed governing bodies which had sprung up to administer the sport.

The meeting was attended by the following senior officials :

  • 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 at the meeting were representatives from the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The following is an extract from the document published by the World Pool Association report shortly after that meeting…

World Pool Association Report 2005
: Introduction of Blackball Pool

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 and 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.

Blackball International was subsequently formed in August 2008 as the governing body for the sport of blackball pool and became responsible for the organisation and administration of the biennial World Blackball Championships.