Snooker: Asian Q-School could be just two years away

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's chairman, James Ferguson, believes a Q-School will be established in Asia in a couple pf years.

Jason Ferguson

Chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, Jason Ferguson, at the 2019 Indian Open snooker tournament in Kochi on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

For long, players from many countries, including India, have had a problem playing in the Q-School, the qualification event for the professional World Snooker Tour, because of the huge costs involved as it is played in England.

The Q-School tournaments run for about two months − this year they will be at Wigan from mid-May − and many talented players find them a big burden.

That could be one of the reasons why the pro world-ranking circuit is packed with players from the United Kingdom. But the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is working on ways to globalise the sport in a big way.

“You’re right, if you look at the number of our ranked players, it’s still heavily weighted towards UK. But it’s changing, over 20 Chinese players are on our tour now, we have players from Thailand and Iran too,” said Jason Ferguson, the WPBSA chairman, in a chat with Sportstar here, on the sidelines of the 2019 Indian Open.

“We are now set to be more international in the years to come,” he added.

That could well see an Asian Q-School in the next couple of years. “We have snooker in this year’s African Games, this is very exciting to me. The next step, in the next two years, is to ensure that we have an Asian Q-School. We are probably only a one or two years away from that. It could also include Oceania or even be an Australasian Q-School,” said Ferguson.

However, he is disappointed that snooker lost its chance to get into the 2024 Paris Olympics while an event like breakdance is close to getting in.

“We have not been able to put up a bid for the Olympics because there is another body, the World Federation of Billiards Sports which represents all cue sports, which claims to be in control for the Olympic recognition in snooker. Sadly, they have just failed on delivering snooker to the Olympics,” said the Englishman, a former pro player.

“I don’t believe our body, which is representing us to the Olympics, has the administration that is required. And that is a big issue. We have a meeting this month to discuss the future. Now that we have failed with the Olympics, we need to make the changes that are necessary. We need to get down with these people and make the changes.”