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Pascal Guillaume

IBSF chairman Pascal Guillaume

IBSF Chairman excludes Israel from Amman

In unfortunate times of terrorism and uncertainty, the choice of venue for the IBSF World Snooker Championships in Amman, Jordan, has been questioned. Many countries has raised concerns about the safety of their players and a few of them have actually withdrawn, including countries like Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

The chairman of IBSF, Pascal Guillaume, sent a letter to the General Secretary of the Olympic Jordan Committee, requesting insurance for the safety of competition and the participating players and officials, later receiving a reassuring response, both posted on the IBSF web page.

What is not mentioned on the IBSF web is that Pascal Guillaume later on still makes it his personal responsibility to not invite Israel, for "security reasons". Guillaume wrote, "I hope that you understand that it's my responsibility as President to take all necessary precautions to prevent any problems or any risks during this competition", continuing, "I personally believe that due to the local precarious situation and the present serious unrest that still exists between your country and Lebanon, the country of Jordan is certainly not the right place to guarantee the security of your players.", concluding that it is not reasonable to invite Israel under these circumstances.

It seems Mr Guillaume no longer feels that the letter sent from the "Jordan Olympic Comitee to insure the high security of the tournament and all the participants", signed by the Secretary General of the Jordan Olympic Committee, is good enough for all participants.

Israel singled out

This letter was not sent to any other countries - upsetting the chairman of the Israel Snooker & Pool Association (ISPA), Mr Israel Pinhas. In a reply to Guillaume he writes, "It is clear to us that this decision is a political one", continuing his reply indicating that Guillaume is misinformed, "I think that your understanding of the Middle East situation is wrong and unfortunately you are giving in to terrorism."

Not acting on behalf of the swedish organization

Several delegates of the Swedish organization have followed the articles in international press and have received mail from other representatives from organizations within IBSF, all being upset with the way Mr Guillaumes has chosen to act. "He is certainly not acting on behalf of the Swedish organization" says Swedish chairman Kim Hartman, raising serious concerns about the effects this may have on the event. "Had we chosen to participate in the event, we would now most certainly have had to withdraw in protest", mr Hartman says. "This decission does not fit our constitution nor our ambitions to follow the IOCs recommendations" he adds and an official protest is likely to be submitted within a few days.

A letter from Mr Israel Pinhas

The following letter was sent out to the IBSF members from the Israeli federation, October 6th. The response clearly indicates that they do not share the IBSF chaiarman's view on security, but it remains unclear if Pascal Guillaume's mail was a strong recommendation not to participate or an outright ban.


Dear federation colleagues,

I would like to bring you up to date regarding our non participation in the soon commencing world snooker championship in Jordan.

The Israeli federation received an e-mail from the IBSF president, dated 13 Sep 2006, requesting us to not arrive to this prestigious championship. As I will explain in the following, we find this request a purely political issue and not security one.

The Israeli delegation presence would strengthen the general security in the championship, as all Israeli delegation are secured by local police and in some occasions by other security personnel. Therefore all participating delegations would benefit from expended security at no additional cost.

Our request for information, such as: hotels, locations etc. was answered by Mr. Pascal's e-mail, requesting us to not participate. Our conclusion is that the Jordanian federation has chosen the "easy way out" by boycotting the Israeli federation.

It is not our intention to sabotage this event by asking you not to participate, we, as all of you, are sports fans, and although we are hurt and harmed by this unfortunate decision, we hope the tournament will be a great success and this sport will continue thieving thru out the world. All we ask is that in the general meeting that will be held; your voices will be heard, and protest will give rise to this non professional, non sportsman-like action.

We wish all participants great successes and achievements


Israel Pinhas, Chairman ISPA
Israel Snooker & Pool association

--end quote

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