Thursday, January 01, 2009

World Ten Ball, Chia Ching Wu and the WPA

For the first time ever a WPA World Ten Ball Championship was going to be arranged, and the WPA had given Raya Sports in the Philippines the 5-year contract of hosting it.

Yen Makabenta, Billiards Digest "Man of the Year" in 2006 after successfully bringing the World 9-ball Championship "home" where it belongs, in Manila, Philippines, was the organiser and promoter of the World Ten Ball Championship.

The World 9-ball Championship in 2006 and 2007 was major success, atleast for the regular fans and players, and it brought lots of spectators from around the world, broadcasted live in Asia and Europe, lots of attention in the national media and commercials on national tv months before the tournaments.

A couple of weeks prior the World Ten Ball Championship, many people, myself included, started to ask questions on poolforums about why there was no sponsors listed on the official website, and why there were absolutely no press releases or articles in the local newspapers about this upcoming happening, the biggest tournament in 2008. In fact, the organizer had no posters around in Manila, and there were no information about how to buy tickets for this event and no commercials about it all, less than 2 weeks before the first match was set to start.

It ended with WPA publishing an official statement, "WPA quells rumours", saying that players and fans had nothing to worry about, the pricemoney was no problem, not only would there be 400 000 $ in pricemoney as stated, perhaps the sponsors would add a bonus also.

The tournament started as planned, with 128 of the very best players in the world, except the best Filipinos, who decided not to join this event because disputes with Yen Makabenta and his Raya Sports. No surprise, the event was not a popular event in the pool-loving country Philippines, because of lack of advertising and the missing top-players, and the attendance was very low.

The tournament ended, and after 2 weeks no players were paid a dime. The Filipino-surprise D. Pulpul, who finished 4th, was then told by Raya that he would be paid the 24th of October, 3 weeks after the tournament. Nothing happened, and no communication from Raya (or the WPA) was made to either players or federations about why no payment was still made.

Darren Appleton, who won the tournament and was owed 100 000 $, was very frustrated about the situation, and "everyone" asked him about what's going on, day after day. This clearly affected his focus and concentration, and after playing some of his best pool ever when winning the tournament he had a poor show in the US Open.

During the US Open Raya Sports finally communicated with some/all of the players, saying that they would get paid the 30th/31st of October.

All the American players got paid that date, and Raya quickly sent a press-release saying that now all Americans was paid. Some American billiardsites published this information, and the regular fans now thought everything was ok.

It was clearly not, and the European players was paid first sometimes during the middle of November, and everyone now thought that all players got paid. The reasons Raya used for the late payment were Filipino-law regarding bank-transfers, saying that they could only pay a certain amount to few persons every day...

It has been very quiet about World Ten Ball and Yen Makabenta the last month, but all of a sudden I have been told that Chia Ching Wu, runner-up in the World Ten Ball, is still owed his 40 000 $, and that some of the other Taiwanese players first got paid 87 days after the tournament ended.

It is now 3 months since the tournament ended, we are in 2009, and the runner-up is still unpaid.

WPA sent an official statement telling players and federations that THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.

Well, what do WPA has to say about this situation now? What will WPA do to protect the players in the future, and how can the players trust future statements from the WPA?

I thought WPA's main purpose was to protect the players, not the promoters. What will WPA do if Chia Ching Wu will NOT get paid. Will they pay him? After all, the tournament is sanctioned by WPA, and they said there was nothing to worry about, didn't they?

WPA wanted the IPT to put their pricemoney in escrow, to secure the players. Why didn't they demand that from Raya Sports?

Why did WPA say that there might be an added bonus from the sponsors of the event, when they didn't even know if there was enough money to pay the players?

I am now hoping that Chia Ching Wu will get paid very quickly, and with interest, and I hope that WPA will start to focus more on the players.

I first saw Chia Ching Wu live when watching him play a moneygame against Lee Van Corteza in Manila, Philippines, in July, 2008. They played 9-ball at Pool Fusion in Mabini Street, Malate, and I sat at the bar sweating this match.

It was a pleasure watching him play, and one of the shots he performed, a very high-risk long shot demanding lots of follow and spin on a very tight table with slow cloth, was executed so perfectly. The about 30 "railbirds" sweating the match went from being a noisy crowd to not say a word. You could hear a pin drop when he ran out that rack. It was a moment where the railbirds didn't believe what they saw, and in lack of words everyone just stood there watching.

I am very happy that I got a chance to see him in action, live. Wish Wu would travel around the world more, he is without a doubt one of the very, very best players in the world right now, and more fans deserve to see him play.

As a start, the organiser of tournaments could pay him his winnings when he is travelling abroad and honoring the tournament with his presence and performances.

1 kommentarer:

Anonymous said...

A good post - the next thing these guys will start to do is pay off in installments - When Earl won a million he had to settle out of court - when big $$$ is invilved the pool players get screwed if it happened in golf the whole world would be in an uproar.

Anonymous - Bobby Mcgee

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