Personal history in relation to the BWA archive

BWA – Billiards Worldcup Association
There are numerous abbreviations used in today’s billiard environment. Most probably the ones that come to mind are your local club or national federation. Worldwide the two most familiar ones are the UMB and CEB, the World and European billiard federations.
There, at least to me, is only one abbreviation in all of billiards that is closest to my heart, the BWA.
The BWA, or Billiards Worldcup Association, founded in 1985 must be seen as the organization that put three-cushion billiards on the map. All of yesterdays and todays professional three-cushion players are owing a lot to the BWA, as all outstandingly organized tournaments (like Blankenberge by Kurt Ceulemans, the McCreery tournament in New York and the current World Cup edition in Seoul) have originated out of what the BWA started.
Some time ago I talked with Bert van Manen about writing a piece about the history of the BWA, Bert mentioned, quite right by the way, that the overall history has more negative than positive sides to it. For me the BWA mentions a lot as they professionalized three-cushion billiards by contracting great players, creating a earning model, organize the well-known “World Cup Tournaments” and they found and excellent way to market themselves.
BWA – Billiards Worldcup Association
As a collector you’re always on the lookout for interesting item, BWA items however are not easily found. The few I have (tie, lighter and business card holder) proved that over the years.
During my talk with Bert (Bert van Manen) I mentioned to him that whenever the chance would occur I would love to have an BWA badge. The ones who were worn by the players on their jacket. Bert told me he had one and offered kindly to send me one together with some other items.
After I opened the package he sent me I was extremely surprised and happy with the items he had sent to me. Label pins, 29 pictures of contract players, some decals and the so much desired badge. A big thank you to Bert for sending me the BWA (and other great) items to add to my collection. Hopefully I will find more BWA items to add but as mentioned before, they are hard to find.

Item: Kozoom / Frits Bakker

The remaining part of this page is dedicated to the history of the Billiards Worldcup Association and I would like to express my thanks and respect to Cor van Erp, Michel Cielen, Raf Borremans, Pierre Cornelissen, Maarten Oldenburg, Bert van Manen and Jan Rosmulder for providing me with beautiful BWA items and their knowledge.

Please note that I'm fully aware that not all was peachy during the BWA era, I have documents that prove that. I have decided to willingly ignore this and focus on the good things. Let's not forget that the BWA paved the path for today's professionals who can make a living out of the great game of three cushions billiards.

The birth of an idea

In 1985 BC 21 Elversberg ordered four new carom tables from the Belgium maker Duque. The clubs board members thought that a huge order like this would be eligible for a discount, Duque however thought otherwise. To make up for not giving a discount they offered a free show by Raymond Ceulemans, their representative at the time.
Elversberg built a special stand in their clubhouse “Bayerische Wald” and ended up with a room that was packed to the rafters. Ceulemans and Klause Bosel played a three-cushion match to points, which was won by Ceulemans obviously and after that he played a series of trick shots.
When Ceulemans finished his show he and Bosel were invited to have dinner into the house of Dr. Werner Bayer, president of Elversberg at the time, as due to the late hour all restaurant were closed. As it seems during dinner Ceulemans, much to surprise of Bayer, mentioned that he still needed a regular job next to playing billiards.
During the early hours of December 18, 1985 the idea of founding an organization for professional three-cushion billiards was born. Bayer laid the foundation for players like Ceulemans and Marco Zanetti to become financially independent and able them to fully concentrate on their sport.
The above is the recollection of Klaus Bosel, but as he was there who are we to question it.

Founding of the BWA

On December 29, 1985 the foundation meeting took place at “Hotel Goldener Knopf” in the town of Bad Säckingen. Statutes and proclamations of the BWA (the Billiards World Cup Association) were agreed upon.
The first task of the appointed board members was to apply for acceptance of the BWA as an affiliate of the UMB. A request that didn’t turned out successfully.
First President was Willy Schlembach, the Secretary General was Hans Latza, the Treasurer was Gerhard Feller and the combined function of Vice-President and General Manager was given to Werner Bayer.
As her official address the BWA choose a location in Geneva, close to the UMB and the International Olympic Committee.

Aim and goal of the BWA

As a main goal the BWA had in mind the promotion of three-cushion billiards at top level by organizing series of international events for the world’s top three-cushion players.
Then intention was to be an financially independent organization, affiliated to the UMB. Organizing the international events supposedly were thought as a joint venture between the BWA and the UMB, unfortunately this didn’t work out.
The idea was rejected by some high-ranking officials but André Gagnaux proved strong enough to use the opportunity to to put on media-effective three-cushion tournaments.
He at least managed to do so in the first years.

1986 The first BWA tournament held

In 1986 after three months of preparing a tournament in cooperation with an Asian sponsor, there was a lot of disappointment when the sponsor considered it a to high of a risk. After that meeting a day later Bayer and Latza stopped at a sport park called Les Pyramides and met Egidio Vierat (from Portugal).
He told them that Claude Chevilotte was interested in organizing a tournament with money prizes in Paris. Bayer and Latza got in touch with Claude Chevilotte ans a day later they signed the contract for the first tournament. To be held in the Stade de Coubertin.
Bayers star attraction of course was Raymond Ceulemans, how nervous he must have been with Ceulemans on the edge of an early elimination from the tournament. In his last 16 match against Dufetelle he was trailing 0-2 in sets. He turned it around, won 3-2, and went on to win the tournament.
For the results of this first tournament you can have a look at the results page.