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Agipi Masters stops: sad news for billiards

Posted by on October 5, 2013

Agipi Masters stops: sad news for billiards

© Didier Fioramonti/Kozoom
The last Agipi trophy, won by Marco Zanetti

SCHILTIGHEIM - The Agipi arena, platform of the event that was seen as the most attractive, prestigious and lucrative three cushion event in the world of billiards, organized from 2008 until 2013, has definitely closed its doors for the Agipi Masters, brainchild of Claude Fath.

Marco Zanetti was the last winner this year. Torbjörn Blomdahl (2x), Dick Jaspers (2x) and Sung-Won Choi won the previous editions.

Over the years, the world of three cushion has watched breathlessly the tournament in Schiltigheim, Alsace (France), where top players from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa competed for hundreds of thousands of euro’s.

The creator, promoter and financier of the project, Agipi president Claude Fath, had created a system that made it attractive for players to perform on the highest level: high averages, high runs, short matches, winning games and the final win were rewarded by big prize-money.

The Agipi Masters was unique in its sort, as was previously the Crystal Kelly tournament. But never before in a three cushion tournament, professional players could earn so much as in the Agipi Masters. Dick Jaspers was the best example: the Dutchman, who won twice, exceeded the 100.000 euro’s limit in six tournaments this year.

For each player, anywhere in the world, it was a great honor to be invited by Claude Fath. The world’s most famous players had put their name on the trophy, except one of the players of the famous Agipi team, who lacked on the honor roll until this year.

Marco Zanetti, in the form of his life and Frédéric Caudron made the dream of Claude Fath come true: the two Agipi players battled for the trophy in this year’s final. Zanetti was the glorious winner.

The precursors were not very favorable after that 2013 edition: The people who were close and involved, feared that the Agipi Masters was threatened in its existence.

The final decision has now fallen: there will be no more Agipi Masters, not next year and not in the upcoming years. That is particularly bad news for the players and all those millions of spectators, who witnessed all these years the beautiful live imageson Kozoom and Eurosport.

The news that was already known:

Claude Fath has retired as president on July 11 and was replaced by François Pierson, former director of AXA France, more interested in football than in billiards.

The recent news:

The famous Agipi team, eight times winner of the European Cup, with Frédéric Caudron, Marco Zanetti, Jérémy Bury and Jean-Christophe Roux, will continue this season. The question is whether the motivation is still there to win a new Cup. In any case it would be a nice gift for Claude Fath.

Kozoom director Xavier Carrer responded to the disappearance of the Masters:

,,The world of billiards is greatly indebted to Mr Claude Fath for the way he has promoted our sport during the last ten years. It is unfortunate that his successor will not try to take advantage of the strong image that Agipi has conquered, also by its famous billiards event.’’

,,But that 's how it works in sports and business: the survival of these major events depends on the choice of one man. The Agipi Masters were followed by millions of viewers all around Europe with exceptional television coverage on Eurosport. We have to look for other big, new projects.’’

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