All Party Parliamentary Group For Snooker
The WPBSA welcomed MP's from the newly set up All Party Parliamentry Group for snooker (APPG) to the Dafabet Masters this week.
I was privileged to represent World Women's Snooker and enjoyed talking to MPs about their thoughts on snooker and how they can help support it. Neil Gray MP, Julian Knight MP and Kerry McCarthy MP were welcomed to the Dafabet Masters by the WPBSA Board including Jason Ferguson, Nigel Mawer, Jan Veerhas, Ken Doherty, and Shaun Murphy.
After a tour of the playing arena and networking, they watched an exciting evening session contested between Luca Brecel and Ding Junhui, which eventually went down to a deciding frame that Ding won.
The APPG was launched in Parliament on 9th January and Members of Parliament and Peers were joined by WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson and members of his team, who made a presentation outlining the work of the sport’s world governing body.
Chaired by Conor Burns, Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, the Group brings together Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords from all major parties. It will meet regularly in Parliament to hear from speakers working in snooker at all levels and discuss issues in the sport, as well as promoting snooker more widely both within Parliament and outside.
Members will meet throughout the year to discuss all elements of snooker including the sport’s attempts to work alongside key stakeholders in sport delivery, and members will seek to raise concerns in Parliament regarding the status of snooker as a sport and support its grassroots initiatives, as well as promoting the considerable social and economic impact that the sport has across the country. Sheffield is a good example of this, where the hosting of the World Championships at the Crucible each years brings millions of pounds worth of revenue to the City.
It will be interesting to see how the group progresses and I look forward to seeing what priorities it will focus on in 2019. The group represents a real opportunity to gain traction in Parliament with respect to widening opportunities to participate in the sport, for people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds.
I spoke to Julian Knight MP (Solihull) around opportunities at grass roots level to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport, and the rolling out of 'cuezones' into schools. Snooker has undergone a huge perception change over the last few decades and snooker clubs are far more child friendly - the opportunities for pioneering grass roots snooker are huge and I hope the APPG acts as a catalyst for putting junior snooker wider on agendas going forward.
This will only be supported by the fantastic work of the WPBSA in growing snooker as a sport for all, including through World Women's Snooker (WWS) and World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).
An exciting time for snooker, watch this space I say!
By Suzie Opacic, exclusively for Billiards Boutique.