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President Barki opens the door to solve conflict

Posted by on July 12, 2018

President Barki opens the door to solve conflict

© Kozoom Studio
UMB president Mr. Farouk Barki during the pressconference in Seoul: ,,I'm here for one week, my door is open.''

SEOUL - The president of the UMB, Mr. Farouk Barki, has declared his willingness to discuss and solve the conflict with the Korean federation about media rights. The start of the 3CC World Masters, this Thursday in Seoul, should be perfect timing to bring both parties to the table. Mr. Barki wants to end the stalemate, but he waits for the Korean leaders to act. ,,So far, they have refused to sit down with us. The players who are being threatened with suspensions and fines are the victims. The sport of billiards is on the brink of a wonderful era, with a full calendar, 2,5 million in prize money and a chance at Olympic recognition in 2024. How can the Korean federation jeopardize the future of its players this way?''

The stalemate in the matter of the media rights and the consequent withdrawal of two major tournaments on Korean soil has driven the KBF and the UMB further apart, because there is nothing but radio silence from Korea. The KBF does not communicate with the UMB and holds on to its threat that Porto was the last tournament where Korean players were allowed to participate. UMB-president Barki said on Wednesday in a press conference with 11 Korean journalists and 1 from Europe: ,,The KBF can't suspend players, because playing in an official tournament is a decision that rests with the players. If the KBF, which is beholden to the rules of the UMB, should block their participation, the KBF could be suspended, not the players. Luckily, we're not that far down the road yet. I will be in Korea all week; my door is open. We can't have a situation where Korean players will be missing from the World Championship and from World Cups. They would quickly lose their ranking, and Korea would be on the outside, looking in.''

The president faced tough questions during the press meeting, but they all circled around the same matter: the media rights, contractually awarded to Kozoom. The Koreans, with their own tv-network Billiards tv, have even gone to court to overturn that contract, but they lost that case. The Korean federation still refuses to accept the deal, because their board feels the tournaments in Korea should be broadcast by their own media. Mr. Barki: ,,The Korean federation is the only one not in agreement. The UMB is the organizer, with its partner Kozoom. This also applies to the tournament we will be hosting on Long Island in the USA in a few weeks, with 800.000 dollars in prize money. The American federation plays no part in that event, but they are happy that such a big tournament will be played on their soil. The UMB is a non-profit organization. We are happy with every event that helps promote billiards.''

The conflict became worse in the past months, because KBF chairman Mr Nam shared mails between KBF and UMB with players Marco Zanetti and Torbjörn Blomdahl. ,,In my view, that information was confidential'', says Barki. ,,I know why he did that: he wanted to put pressure on these players to leave the LG Cup, a major tournament in Korea, on the calendar on their terms.''

,,I still have hope that a rapid solution is within reach", says Barki. The Korean federation must realize that it is not up to one national federation to determine where the rules should lead us. History teaches us that the sport has never been in better shape than now: for the upcoming three years, the calendar is already 90 % firmly booked. The UMB money ends up in the pockets of players and organizers. We are here to protect the players, not to punish them.''

Mr. Barki asked the media to bring more public clarity about the conflict. ,,The Korean federation is a major organization and we must cherish it, but not at the expense of everything else.''

Before the press conference, there was a kick-off with 24 players for the 3CC World Masters. The conflict was again discussed, but also the new tournament calendar and other matters. Questions to and answers from the players:

Frédéric Caudron, how do you feel after your victory in Porto? And what are your thoughts about this new format in the 3CC Masters?
,,Mostly I am tired from the journey, and I am not certain this format will be a success. Let's wait and see.''

Sung-Won Choi and Jung-Han Heo, why have you decided to participate, in spite of the threats by the KBF?
,,It is not confirmed, that we will be suspended. We like to play. We've been in World Cups for ten years now, amongst all the other top players. That is what we want. The players should get together really soon, and decide what is right and what is wrong, in this conflict.''

Dani Sánchez, your opinion as a non-Korean top player?
,,We don't want say who is right and who is wrong. I am a player here, we all are. We need to play billiards and focus on our game. We're not politicians. Conflicts such as this one should be addressed behind a table, not on one. Players should stay out of it.''

Marco Zanetti, how do you feel about the stalemate between the two parties?
,,Yes, I was able to follow the matter through the emails between the UMB and the KBF. Honestly, I have not seen any attempt by the KBF to be constructive and work it out. The UMB has consistently held the door open and was willing to look for a solution. So far, without success unfortunately. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.''

Torbjörn Blomdahl, how do you feel about this new format?
,,It's a fine initiative and a new challenge I look forward to. People always say I am bad at playing defensive, so this should be right up my alley.''

Jérémy Bury, the clock is set to 30 seconds. How are you going to deal with that?
,,It went gradually, it started at 50 seconds, then 40, and now even 30. I've adapted, I've practiced using less time to shoot. It is not always easy, but I always managed. I expect the same now. I am the kind of player, by nature, who says: give me 40 seconds and will use them all.''

Dick Jaspers, another player who likes to study a position.
,,I like innovation, and I will always adapt. The beauty of billiards is that you can create beautiful solutions to complicated problems. But that takes time, and you don't always have it.''

Roland Forthomme, what's your view?
,,I used to be teammates with Torbjörn Blomdahl and Dick Jaspers. I've tried to copy Torbjörn's speed and also Dick's slowness. Right now, I'm in a phase where I think I should probably be somewhere in the middle.''

Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, happy to be back, after you've missed the Porto World Cup?
,,We were sad not to be there. It shouldn't happen again. I'm happy that we are here, amongst all the other top players.''

Semih Sayginer, your choice to fully focus on billiards again, does it have anything to do with a drought in your other activities, such as tv-shows and performances?
,,It took me a long time to get back to the highest level, and that is partly because I did so many other things too. I could not make enough money from billiards alone. Two years ago, I felt I could do it now. The sport is developing in such a way that I can now live as a professional billiard player. I keep doing things on the side, such as giving lectures about ambition and motivation. This is usually for big corporations, sometimes there are 500 or a 1000 people attending. Entertaining is my hobby: I am a good singer so I do perform occasionally. But my first focus is billiards.''

The 24 players for the 3CC World Masters in a press conference before the start

Zanetti: The UMB is willing to solve the conflict. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink

Dani Sánchez: we are players, no politicians, it's not up to us to solve this problem

Semi Sayginer: my sport is developing in that way, that I now can say, I'm a professional billiard player

 

The Belgian players for the 3CC World Masters during the opening dinner in Seoul

 

 

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My Comments

inception
inception
UMB KBF conflict
This article dictates only the stories from UMB.
As a media ( not as a contracted partner of UMB business), I wish Kozoom also write KBF's stories as well
to make billiard public realize the true background of conflict.

One thing I noted. If American Federation plays no part in the Long Island event, it does not deserve any media right. By the way, will the event be televised on TV in America? If not, who cares the media right of such events not-televised?

I deeply regret the fantastic LGU+ Masters is gone due to the conflict.

The story from KBF seems different and billiard public deserves to know equally.

Message 1/2 - Publish at July 12, 2018 6:40 PM

klimanek
klimanek
Agreed
You are right. However, as we Czechs say "A carp won't drain his own pond". For example, PovPool (USA) has been doing a great job broadcasting 3C matches for free on YouTube. And the videos are still online even after years! This is a true propagation of [3C] billiards. The tournaments featured Blomdahl, Ceulemans and many others... BTW, broadcasting any match is very easy job today -- thanks to cheap HQ cameras, "omnipresent" internet and broadcasting platforms.

Publish at July 14, 2018 2:13 AM

VSL
VSL
wait and see
Wait and see, this just the words from one side

Message 2/2 - Publish at July 13, 2018 4:38 AM

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