The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and WPBSA Players have today announced the launch of the WPBSA Player Support Programme, to be held on September 15 and 16 at the prestigious Lilleshall National Sports Centre.
The groundbreaking new event promises to be a transformative experience for over 40 professional snooker players and will be hosted by the renowned sports broadcaster, Rob Walker, and is proudly presented in association with Taom Billiards.
Over 40 current professionals from all around the world are set to take part in the weekend, including rising stars Julien Leclercq and Ben Mertens from Belgium, China’s WSF world champion Ma Hailong as well as England’s Stan Moody and Liam Pullen, who both joined the Tour this summer.
They will also be joined by the four current women professionals on the circuit including reigning world champion Baipat Siripaporn and 12-time queen Reanne Evans and a host of players making a return to the tour including WPBSA Q Tour number one Martin O’Donnell and Q School graduates Alexander Ursenbacher, Andrew Pagett and Stuart Carrington.
During the two-day event, the next generation of snooker stars will receive comprehensive support and guidance from WPBSA Players on a wide range of critical subjects, including integrity, match-fixing prevention, mental health and wellbeing, media training, financial management and career transition.
Guest speakers will include well known figures from across sport and experts from the world of business who will take the stage to share their experiences and insights, offering invaluable advice to aspiring and established players alike.
“Best preparation possible”
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman, said: “I am hugely excited by the launch of the WPBSA Player Support Programme as we aim to provide our next generation with meaningful and practical support at the start of their professional careers in our sport.
“I know from my own experience just how big a step up it is coming from the amateur game. Not only on the baize, but equally so off the table, where there is so much to learn. It is our vision that this new programme will provide players new to the tour with the best preparation possible for their respective journeys.
“And for players who might be returning to the tour, or have re-qualified via Q School, the message is the same and I am confident that everyone taking part will be able to take something valuable from the two days.
“I would like to thank our teams at the WPBSA and WPBSA Players, as well as recognise the support to be provided by Taom Billiards and the Professional Players Federation, which demonstrates the commitment of key stakeholders to the future of our sport.”
Brendan Batson, Chairman of the Professional Players Federation (PPF), expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, saying: “It is vitally important that players know their sport’s rules on betting. Integrity education is essential for all professional players and will help protect them from the devastation that match-fixing scandals bring to reputations and careers. The PPF is delighted to support the first WPBSA Players Support Programme.”
Ken Doherty, Chairman of WPBSA Players, said: “Professional sport can be tough. Our commitment to supporting snooker professionals on issues such as personal and professional development, and welfare is unwavering. We believe that a healthy and well-supported player community is the cornerstone of a thriving sport. Together, we are cueing up a brighter future for our players, ensuring they have the support and resources needed to excel both on and off the baize.”