I would like to apologise for not having come out with an official statement, prior to this time. However your National Associations have been kept aware of all proceedings at all times, in fact all the major decisions were made after online meetings with representatives from all EBA members who voted on how to move forward.
First let me try to reconstruct a timeline of what has transpired over the last months regarding EBA, BI and the World Championships. These World Championships were awarded to the FFB/France by BI in early 2021.
In the time between that awarding of the World’s and March/April 2022 there was a tremendous turmoil in the BI Board following many strange and unconstitutional decisions and actions by said board. This finally escalated to the point where board member Ross McInness was unconstitutionally removed from the BI board.
It was at this time around March/April 2022 that the EBA, following much discussion and communication between its executive committee and representatives from all EBA member nations, decided to (hopefully temporarily) resign its membership from BI. This resignation was very swiftly followed by an announcement from Mark Cottingham that the “official” World Championships would now be held in Morocco on the exact same dates as the actual World Championships in Albi hosted by the FFB.
Shortly after this announcement Mark and Samantha Cottingham decided to resign their positions as chairman and treasurer of BI. This by default left Kevin Byrne as acting president, Annette Grigg as secretary and Mycherif Zine El Abidine as the only board member of BI. At the request of Kevin Byrne the EBA decided to meet with the BI board once again and hear them out. At this meeting and later in writing both Kevin Byrne and Mycherif assured the EBA that there would be no event in Morocco and this was all coming from Mark Cottingham who had now resigned.
We took everything onboard and after further discussions with all the EBA member nations it was decided that the BI board did not want to satisfy our wishes to remove all destructive elements within BI and it was decided to stand by our decision to leave BI.
Kevin Byrne resigned his position within BI shortly after, leaving by default Mycherif as the acting President of BI, Annette resigned too shortly after and the Australian Blackball International Federation (ABIF) departed BI aswell. That left only Africa and Mycherif who became the acting president, acting secretary and acting treasurer at that point on the board. Any reasonable thinking person would consider THE ONLY course of action for BI to hold an extraordinary AGM as soon as possible to work towards filling all the available seats on the board.
But instead, lo and behold here we are with Morocco holding an event at the same time that the FFB are hosting the sanctioned World Championships. If that is not being counter productive and trying to undermine blackball and doing what is clearly NOT best for the players we don’t know what is.
So, for reasons beyond us a decision was made by the remains of an organisation with no elected board members to host a tournament in direct conflict with the World Championship the FFB is organising. One would think that by now that BI would have been lost and the WPA would have been asking questions. But no its seems this is ok, and its ok to bring in new members without holding an AGM/EGM like the newly formed Australian body who claim to be the Oceania Body as did the ABIF under the reign of Mark & Samantha Cottingham.
Enough on that, we hope that it would be clear to anyone that EBA could no longer be expected to stay a member of or consider re-joining BI with the entire board falling apart multiple times and yet no AGM to re-fill said board.
Back to the current situation with the Irish Blackball Association, the IBA.
The IBA, like all the EBA members was supposed to only send teams to The World Championships in Albi as this was the decision made by the EBA members. Recently however the IBA have said to the
EBA that they have to send teams to Morocco because the government forces them to attend official tournaments (we requested proof of this which we have yet to see).
IBA have made a point in saying that the Official World Championships was always running from 8th – 15th of October, which is correct and when the EBA left BI and all of the things I have mentioned above happened there was no longer a BI body and all of its former members were attending the World Championships in Albi. But because the AAPA were not invited to the Albi event (as they are deemed by the EBA of not being democratic and are a disruptive force in the promotion of BB under their current leadership) the event in Morocco was put on and the dates were set on purpose the same as Albi in an attempt to undermine the EBA and FFB, the AAPA could have put on any other dates but they chose conflict instead.
So in response to the IBA’s statement, the real reason why the EBA has temporarily expelled the IBA from its ranks is for contravening the EBA constitution, for attempting to undermine the EBA and going against the vote to leave BI by attending the Morocco event. They have under the constitution 2 months as from the 22nd of August 2022 to rectify this situation at which time the EBA will review the situation and either stand by its decision or revoke the expulsion, in accordance to the EBA constitution.
I know not all of the IBA members stand by the decision of their committee and it is a sad situation we are in currently. The EBA has always been a family and like all families we have our disputes and I believe this is one of them. I hope that there will be more members of the IBA asking questions now of their committee and they will do the right thing to rectify this situation so we can have a family reunion soon and be united as we were before and always have been in promoting Blackball and showing the world that we are a strong family.
Yours in Sport