WPA Responds to Pacquiao Event Troubles

In reply to your request for a comment regarding the article you have put up on AZ Billiards about the situation of the recent World 10-Ball Championship. You were correct; I was in transit travelling back home from the Philippines.

Before getting to the money issues, I’ll endeavor to correct or explain a few other items.

First of all, the WPA does not have any involvement with the Doubles event now being played. So my comments are limited to the World 10-Ball Championship which was sanctioned by the WPA.

Yes, the event was played in a shopping mall. General Santos, or more commonly called Gensan is just a small town; there are not a lot of choices as far as a venue goes. The reason for choosing Gensan is because it is the hometown of Manny Pacquiao, the organizer/sponsor, where besides being world-boxing champion, he is also the Congressman and he hopes to be elected as a Senator next year.
The area in the mall was quite large and accommodated about fifteen pool tables. The floor is tile or marble, and therefore would be a big job to carpet an area the size that would need covering. The main table did have carpet around it.

The tables were not the best in the world, they were the ones used in previous events held in Gensan. Mr. Pacquiao purchased these tables for his first event after having been advised by someone as the table to buy. These were covered with Simonis cloth, and new sets of Saluc balls were also used.

There was plenty of viewing around the main table, seated and standing. The other tables also were easy to watch with plenty of room around them, and a second and third balcony level of viewing from within the shopping mall.

The atmosphere was a bit loud, but just typical shopping mall noise. I’m sure the players adjusted quickly. It seems that they can cope quite well with unobtrusive noise, it is the sudden change in the general tone that is the biggest distraction.

There were some referee issues, but all in all they did a very good job under the circumstances. They all worked very hard and long hours in a thankless job and for little money. Unfortunately there are not a great number of qualified referees available in the Philippines. Most of those who officiated did the job to the best of their ability and you cannot expect any more than that.

Anyway, to the money issues. I do not know that the following is an absolute fact at this stage, as I said earlier I have been travelling. My comments are based on what a reasonable amount of people have said. I have written to the person who was in charge of the event asking for confirmation, but she has so far failed to answer me.

My understanding is that players were paid their prize money less 5%. This didn’t apply to the player groups earning $300 or $700, just to the ones above that. If this is correct, then a “sanction fee” of $8,400 has been taken out of the prize fund. I can assure everyone that the WPA certainly did not receive any part of this money. The WPA charged an entry fee in lieu of any sanction fee being deducted. Whoever decided to take the money had no right to do so. The players had been given the information about the event, and it was stated in there that there would be an entry fee, but no mention of any sanction fee. The information that was available to players is the basis on what a player uses to make his decision of whether to play or not. To add any other fee after the event is announced is wrong, but to do so after the event has completed is totally wrong and unacceptable.

The WPA has its own financial issues with the organizers where they have failed to meet certain obligations and therefore we have received a substantial shortfall as well.

It is my intention to write to Mr. Pacquiao to make him aware of what has happened, because I am not convinced he would be aware. He doesn’t come across to me as a person who would do this type of thing, nor someone who would tolerate someone else doing it. Getting to Mr. Pacquiao however is not as simple as picking up the phone, or even of getting a letter to him.

This event, despite its problems, has the potential to become a unique event in itself, not so indifferent to what developed in Fujairah some years ago. I don’t believe the problems are insurmountable, I think most of them are relatively easy to overcome. However the first job at hand and top priority is to try and resolve these immediate problems of players being short-paid.

Kind regards

Ian Anderson
WPA President