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European billiards: waiting for good news and new ambitions

Posted by on September 3, 2020

European billiards: waiting for good news and new ambitions

© Hervé Lacombe
CEB president Diane Wild leading the biggest confederation with more than 100.000 registered players

LAUSANNE/LILLE - The interview with two European board members, Diane Wild from Lausanne (CEB president) and Jean-Pierre Guiraud from Lille (Secretary general) was meant to look forward to the new billiard season. The current, worrisome situation towards COVID 19 however, makes it almost impossible and has blurred the expectations for the European and international calendar again. ''Unfortunately, we cannot bring good news for the future as no one can do that for the moment'', the CEB leaders make clear.

Many questions for the Kozoom interview remain unanswered, because almost all tournaments and championships for 2020 have been removed from the calendar and/or postponed to next year. The latest news from UMB is that the 3C Survival Masters (Korea, November 4-8) and the World Cup in Korea (Cheongju, November 9-15) have been cancelled). Two events (World Cup in Sharm-el-Sheik and the Continental Cup, both in December) are the only that have not yet been officially removed.

The European federation, CEB, announced these days that the next edition of Euro Youth will be organized next year 2-5 April in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where the championships will be held for three cushion under 17 and 21, free game under 17 and 21 and 5 pins under 21 years. And earlier, also due to the worsening reports about the pandemic and travel measures, the opening of registrations for two European championships in Spain (artistic and one cushion), which were scheduled for November 2020, have been moved to 8 and 24 September 2020.

Mss Diane Wild and Mr. Jean-Pierre Guiraud, jointly and partly answered to the answers raised by Kozoom. ,,We will surely come back when the international competitions will be back again.''

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: When we speak about the European confederation, CEB with its 26 federations. Is that a stable situation already for years, or have federations been added or dropped in recent years? The boundary of these federations ends approximately after Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the countries further east. Do CEB see opportunities to still increase the number of nation members?
Diane Wild/Jean-Pierre Guiraud: The total number is stable. And yes, one of our objectives is to increase the number of nation members and help to develop our sport in new countries. For instance, we try to convince some eastern European federations with 5-Pins (in progression in whole CEB nations). Another objective is to promote Carom in Great-Britain and Ireland. Carom is nearly unknown there. The starting point of this operation could be the qualifications, in Ireland, for the prestigious McCreery 3-Cushion tournament.

Kozoom/FB: Can we determine that the European confederation is the biggest and most important of four confederations belonging to the UMB (with Asia, Pan American and Afrika)? Can you estimate the number of European members?
DW/JPG: Yes, CEB is the biggest confederation, by the number of nations and by the number of registered members. We have more than 100.000 registered players inside CEB national federations. CEB is the only international structure organizing championships for all carom games and for all the Carom family: 5-Pins, Classic disciplines, Artistic, club and national teams, young players and ladies. Professional 3-Cushion is, of course, a wonderful showcase, but Carom is a 'Sport for all' and needs to be promoted and supported at all levels. That's why CEB is also organizing training camps for referees, for young players, for ladies.

Kozoom/FB: The CEB board had in the total history since 1958 seven presidents: Diane Wild is the first female leader of the confederation, elected in 2017. Jean Pierre Guiraud was the sports director for ten years (2009-2019) and has been succeeded by Stefano Malacrita since last year. The next CEB congress is next year on June 19 in Valencia. Are there new elections, mutations coming up?
DW/JPG: Jean-Pierre was first elected in CEB board in Ancona in 2005. After four years as assessor, he has been elected as Sports director in 2009. Diane was first elected in CEB Board in 2009, In Cairo. CEB elections are held every four years and the next will take place at the General Assembly in Valencia, June 2021. On this occasion the whole board will be elected. Candidates for the various positions will be known at the end of January 2021.

Kozoom/FB: What can you say about the new formation and functions within the board, including the new sports leader and Jean Pierre as the new Secretary/General? Are you looking for more mutations or innovations?
DW/JPG: Stefano Malacrita, the new sports leader, has been very fast to take perfectly the place and it is a great pleasure to work with him. The current composition of the committee is working very well. There are no mutations planned before the next election.

Kozoom/FB: The European season, on the calendar until August 31, has been speeding up due to the Corona crisis. How did you deal with all the cancellations or bringing events to next year?
DW/JPG: We made the choice, very early, to be clear and to cancel the competitions until the end of the season 19/20. It was the safest and the best solution for all: organizers, federations and players.

Kozoom/FB: What are your expectations for the two tournaments which are still on the CEB calendar for 2020: the European Championship artistic in Gandia and the European Championship one cushion in Paiporta?
DW/JPG: Given the recent worsening of the pandemic crisis and travel restrictions, CEB has decided to postpone the opening of registrations. The board is constantly monitoring decisions from governments of member nations and believes that, in order to carry out a CEB European Championship, sportsmen from all CEB nations must be able to travel to the venues with no restrictions or risk of quarantine.

Kozoom/FB: How special has this season been for billiards in general and CEB in particular? And for both of you personally?
DW/JPG: It was an extraordinary season. For example, 2020 was the first time since the creation of Coupe d'Europe 3-Cushion (in 1959) that this major event was not organized! Personally, all is OK, and with modern tools of communication, teleworking is a very good solution.

Kozoom/FB: The European Championship for all disciplines have been moved from Brandenburg to Antalya. What does that mean for the continuity of this mega event, how high are the expectations towards the Turkish organization? How important is it for the promotion of our sport?
DW/JP: For us, it is a very good opportunity to have new ambitions. Wonderful place, more tables, more players, more spectators, less days. Everything will be done to make this mega-event the biggest international competition ever in our sport, even better, with the kind help of the Turkish Federation.

Kozoom/FB: We all hope, of course, that we run into better times with the pandemic and the lockdowns. In that case, how will the year of 2021 look like for the CEB: have most championships and tournaments been registered, no need to look for more organizers?
DW/JPG: For us, it is important to involve all CEB federations in the promotion of our sport. For example, the Czech Federation will organize Euro Youth during Easter week-end.
Only 5-Pins Individual European Championship 2021 has no possibility to be organized for the moment.

 

Thanks for the interview in these times of no competitions, Diane and Jean-Pierre, let's hope that we can restart playing billiards soon.

Jean-Pierre Guiraud, new function in CEB board as Secretary General

The CEB board in a recent conference call

 

 

 

 

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