Message from the WPA president Ian Anderson
It goes without saying that we are currently experiencing something that is totally foreign and uncertain to all of us. It has caused irreparable damage to our events worldwide for this year, and indeed has had a huge impact on the entire billiard industry. I trust everyone is keeping safe and away from this pandemic.
There is a lot of speculation from a whole range of experts, often offering completely different views on everything connected to the problems that are being caused by COVID-19. I think the truth is, nobody really knows. Every country is making its own estimation on when everything will get back to some sort of normality, but from what I read and hear, those differing views change almost daily.
I have been wanting to write an update for some time now, but I keep putting it off to tomorrow thinking that we may have some more certain news, but as a line from the song goes, “tomorrow never comes”.
As an international sport, we are in a completely different category to national sports. As we know, many countries have travel bans, locked borders and many requiring mandatory fourteen day isolation upon arrival into their country. This means that events that are played only within a country may be able to get started again in the not too distant future, but international events will undoubtedly take some further time. The lockdown rules that apply to so many countries may prevent a great number of players being able to attend events, depending also on what country will be hosting. Without all, or at least the greater majority of players being available, it would be hard to justify having the event, never mind the risk of success.
It will be interesting to see how other sports cope with the circumstances. Wimbledon was cancelled this year, the Masters Golf has been put back to November, the Olympics put back to 2021, and the World Games has had to be rescheduled to 2022 because of the Olympic’s problem are just some of the challenges that people have had to face.
We have events on our calendar, but at this time there is no guarantee which ones, or if any will take place, and it is also unknown as to when they may be rescheduled to. There may also be casualties because the sponsors who were in place to support an event when it was announced may not be available once the world has overcome the current problems. We know for sure that many businesses will not survive. It is almost for sure that trying to secure the same venue as originally planned will also be a problem because not only billiard events are being cancelled, but all other activities as well. Those other companies will be looking for new dates and it may end up that venues will have to decide which events are their priority. It could be that we are all faced with the same problem, of trying to find twelve months of event dates and jamming them all into three months; which of course is impossible. And then there are other possible problems, such as broadcasting companies. They will be faced with the same dilemma as what the venues will have.
I personally don’t see any event being staged before September, and it would not come as a complete shock if we are near the end of the year before something happens. Our government as an example, has already stated that international travel for Australians is highly unlikely before the end of the year. I’m sure they are not on their own with this train of thought. We have been told that anyone coming to Australia in the foreseeable future will have to spend two weeks in isolation before being allowed to go about normally. So our tourism will suffer greatly because who would want to travel to a country and spend the first two weeks of your holiday in mandatory isolation. The same applies to anyone who has a legitimate reason to leave Australia now, upon their return they must isolate for two weeks. Positive news keeps breaking almost daily of having a vaccine developed, and I know human testing has already commenced, but results of those trails are not known overnight, it can take months.
Anyway, please be assured that as soon as we receive some further news, we will pass that on to you. In the meantime, please take care, keep healthy and take care. Our best wishes to and your families.