BSASL president Passela threatens to quit due to lack of funds | Daily News
Billiards and snooker in doldrums in Sri Lanka :

BSASL president Passela threatens to quit due to lack of funds

Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka president Noor Zulky Passela (left) receiving a plaque during their 70th anniversary celebrations from a former president Jagath Sumathipala.
Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka president Noor Zulky Passela (left) receiving a plaque during their 70th anniversary celebrations from a former president Jagath Sumathipala.

Billiards produced the first ever world champion for Sri Lanka, the late M.J.M. Lafir in 1973, but the cue sport is in the doldrums with the president of the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka (BSASL) Noor Zulky Passela threatening to quit because they don’t have funds to the run the sport.

“We have been running the sport with the personal funds of well wishers. But enough is enough. I can’t do this anymore,” said Passela who took over as BSASL president in May 2017.

“The only sponsor we have is Jagath Sumathipala of Sumathi Group of Companies who annually sponsors the National Snooker Championships which is played for the U.W. Sumathipala memorial trophy. We are running on a deficit budget. We don’t have funds to send national players for even competitions abroad,” he said.

The World Billiards Championship conducted by the IBSF (International Billiards and Snooker Federation) is scheduled to be held from September 8 to 15 but due to lack of funds the reigning national billiards champion M.M. Mubeen of Army will not be going, Passela said. Fifth ranked Danusha Maduranga of Army will be going instead using his personal funds.

“How can I run the association without funds,” said Passela in exasperation in an interview with the Daily News at the T/Cue club in Slave Island which also serves as the BSASL headquarters in addition to doubling up as his home and restaurant. The association doesn’t have a home of its own leave alone a place for training national players, with Passela managing to retrieve the boards which contains the names of past champions of the sport.

“I have spoken to five sports ministers and they have promised us a place which never materialized for some reason or other. The only thing they gave us was three cue tables. Even that is stacked in a storeroom somewhere. I am planning to sell those tables and get some funds for the association because we don’t have big sponsors apart from Sumathipala for the sport,” he said.

The standard of the cue sport has seen a steady decline from the days when greats like M. Hashim Raibin, K.H. Sirisoma and the late Henry Boteju ruled the green baize.

“We can’t blame players for this. Earlier we were given a place at the Sugathadasa Stadium before being kicked out from there five years ago. We don’t have a permanent place where national players can train for at least eight hours a day. We have to pay to practice in clubs like AAC (Automobile Association of Ceylon), Moors or Otters. We have talented players like 18-year-old S.M. Thaha who was runner-up to the new national snooker champion H.A.M. Rimzan last week. But without funds we cannot promote the game,” he said.


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