Jason Ferguson, president of the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS), has said that the organisation will continue its drive for snooker to feature at the Olympics by launching a new bid for its inclusion at the 2024 Games, as well as that year’s Paralympic Games.
Ferguson, who is also chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), confirmed the decision to proceed with a bid during this year’s World Snooker Championship, which is currently taking place in Sheffield, England.
The WPBSA and WCBS launched a late bid for Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020 in January 2015. This brought forward snooker’s initial Olympic timetable by four years but in June it missed out on the shortlist of eight sports vying for inclusion on the Games’ sporting programme. Discussing the renewed efforts, Ferguson said that the sport is growing in popularity, pointing to the World Snooker tour having visited 10 different countries around the world this season.
“If you go back five years we'd have said, ‘Olympics? No chance’,” Ferguson said, according to UK news agency the Press Association. “But we have developed our sport and expanded our programme globally and I think we fully deserve our place on the Olympic platform.
“I can confirm that we will be making a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. We made a late bid for Tokyo and we did very well. We learned a lot through that process and we know we have the ability to deliver a fantastic Olympic event.”
Snooker already features in the World Games multisport event, and Ferguson said that officials intend to use next year’s event in Wroclaw, Poland as a means to impress the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We hear a lot about legacy and cost at the Olympics and the multi-millions that are spent on new arenas and swimming pools,” Ferguson said. “But we can present an Olympic sport on a very tight budget because we can take over any facility and make it look great.
“The bottom line will be does the host of the 2024 Games want snooker in there. If it is one of the 110 countries with a snooker governing body, then we have a chance. I don't think there's another sport on this planet that could do it as well as us.”
Ferguson also confirmed that the WCBS will be placing a parallel bid for snooker to feature at the 2024 Paralympic Games. Snooker featured in early editions of the Paralympics, but was taken off the programme in 1988 and is yet to make a return.