Euro’s Unable to Play Predator 10 Ball Event Due to Schedule Conflict

The European players who are members of the EPBF have withdrawn from the Predator International 10-Ball Championship in Manila due to a scheduling conflict with an event in Europe that was sanctioned by the EPBF.  The Predator event clashes dates with the Gstaad Swiss Open. This is not a Eurotour event, but it is an event sanctioned by the EPBF.

The EPBF sanction guarantees the promoter that the EPBF will make whatever efforts are possible to get the best EPBF players to participate in the event. So the EPBF has encouraged their players to attend the Gstaad event and told them that if they do not play in that event then they must not play in a competing event or face suspension from future Eurotour events. This would put the EPBF players at risk for their points standings and jeopardize their chances at being invited to international events.

We spoke with Karim Belhaj of Predator Cues from his hotel room in Manila. He told us that when he scheduled this event he was not aware of the Gstaad event dates. He checked his resources for dates and never found this event. In a phone conversation Mr. Belhaj and Mr.  Leenders worked together to find a solution.  

No settlement was found to be possible. This left Lenders in the position of needing to take action to protect his local promoter and issuing the ultimatum to his players that they could not play in the Predator event without possibly suffering the action of being denied entry into some future Eurotour events.

It should be noted here that the players in question were already in Manila and had just participated in the World Cup of Pool or the Predator Sweet Sixteen event. No one flew over here only to play in the Predator event so no one is eating their total travel expenses due to this situation. And players who do not play in the Predator 10-Ball are not required to now travel to Switzerland and play. They are just not allowed to participate in the Predator event as that would have the EPBF in the situation of allowing their players to participate in an event at the same time that they sanctioned another event. That would be a situation that the Swiss promoter would understandably not care for.

Mr. Belhaj voiced his frustration: " We need more communication between promoters. We need more visibility for everybody. An international calendar of events needs to be established and maintained so that we can avoid these conflicts. We need to all be working together." Mr. Belhaj wanted to make it clear that there was no tension between Predator and the EPBF over this incident. "I understand his position" Mr. Belhaj said. "The EPBF does a good job in Europe."

The result is that the Predator event has had its field reduced from 64 players to approximately 50. So Predator, who had one of the worst storms in European history bring their event in Spain to an early end, has had to suffer the wounds of fate. First, their Spain event was stormed out with 16 players still in the field. So Predator arranged to have those 16 players come to play in an event scheduled in Brazil in the late Spring. But that event ran into problems and was canceled. So then the scramble was on to find a way to complete the Spain event and allow the players to claim their prizes.

There is commonly an event scheduled the week prior to the China Open. Promoters in Asia realize that the top players will be traveling to their part of the world and they try to schedule events around the China Open so that more players can attend their events with less travel costs. With the World Cup of Pool finishing a week prior to the beginning of the China Open the dates for the Predator event in Manila seemed to fit right in. Players could spend two weeks in Manila and then hop over to China. And the Sweet Sixteen event was announced to conclude the day prior to the start of the Manila stop of the Predator International 10-Ball Championship.

Then the phone call from the EPBF.  

Gre Leenders was also apparently frustrated by the turn of events. He told us: "the Predator International was announced now 6 weeks ago." He had little time to react. He also confirmed the phone conversation with Belhaj. The EPBF had placed the Gstaad event on the EPBF calendar but this was not found by Predator. Apparently they had checked the WPA calendar but had not consulted the EPBF calendar.

This is a real problem. Promoters have no ready list of calendar sites to check for conflicts.  AZBilliards will gladly host an international calendar of events, with tiered info so that events with $100,000 in added money will be differentiated from lower-paying events. Obviously, players and promoters need to decide what these tiers would be, but the industry truly needs a calendar. Players need it to schedule their activities and promoters need it to help with their own scheduling.