Snooker chiefs are stepping up their campaign to make the sport part of the 2024 Olympics.
The sport’s worldwide tour and appeal – this week’s Dafabet English Open last 16 included players from all over the globe in Iran, India, Switzerland, Australia, Thailand and China – while over 100 countries watch televised snooker, reaching 1.6billion homes.
Now, the sport – which is already a recognised Olympic sport – hope to win a spot for Paris in 2024.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has helped launch the World Snooker Federation – to help govern the game globally – and have based it in Lausanne, Switzerland, home to the influential International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We have been developing snooker in multi-sport platforms,” said Jason Ferguson, WPBSA chairman. “We have been competing in the World Games, Asian Games, where nations come together to compete for medals.
“We have just launched the World Snooker Federation, as a Swiss-registered independent international sports federation.
“It will be based in Lausanne, close to the IOC headquarters, and the reason for that it is our intention to work closely with the higher authorities in sport, to take our sport to the next level.
“We are not fortunate to be on that Olympic programme, but snooker as part of billiards sports is a recognised IOC sport.
“That’s the beginning of a longer term plan. It’s our view that we will work with the other billiards sports in the world and produce an Olympic bid for the 2024 games in Paris.
“We believe we have a realistic chance of those games.
“Ten years ago, if you had said snooker in the Olympics, people used to laugh at me.
“It’s not too soon for us. There is a lot of work to be done, let’s be honest, and perhaps we will be considered an outsider in that race. But we are ambitious and think we have a chance. Surely, the globalisation of the sport speaks for itself.
“The sport itself now is shown all over the world, 100-plus countries watching snooker on television. We reach 1.6billion homes around the world. These are huge figures in comparison to other sports.”