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India to not host Asian Snooker Tour over Pakistan players’ visa issue

The 10 Reds Asian Tour Snooker tournament venue was shifted from Bengaluru because of visa issues that Pakistani cueists would face in light of the recent terror attack in Pulwama.

India to not host Asian Snooker Tour over Pakistan player visa
Bengaluru, First Published Feb 24, 2019, 8:31 PM IST
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Bengaluru: India will not host the Asian Tour 10 Reds Snooker tournament after visa issues faced by many Pakistani cueists and players holding Pakistani passports.

Though official confirmation on the schedule is yet to be received, media reports indicate that the event would be postponed. The event was scheduled to be held in March.

Speaking to Asianet Newsable, Pankaj Advani said the tournament will not be held in Bengaluru in light of the recent terror attacks in Pulwama. Instead the Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA)  has applied to the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) and the  Asian Confederation of Billiards Sport (ACBS) to host an Asian-level tournament in its place in Bengaluru.

According to other sources, the cueists in the tournament who have Pakistani passports are key players in the tournament and thus the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sport (ACBS) decided to shift the venue of the event.

Regarding the date of the last leg of the Asian tour, a PTI report cited Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) secretary S Subramaniam, who said, "Looking at what was happening with other sporting events in India, we informed the ACBS that visa would be an issue for Pakistani players. So, the ACBS decided to postpone the last leg of the Asian Snooker Tour indefinitely.

"Six out of 24 players are from Pakistan or are Pakistani-origin. They haven't applied for a visa, but we made ACBS aware of the current situation," said Subramaniam

The first two legs of the Asian Snooker Tour were held in Qatar and China. India was supposed to be the last leg of the tour.

In concurrence, the BSFI official, however, said the local organisers of the event, Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA), is planning to host another international event without Pakistani players around the same time.

"The KSBA is exploring another international event as they have already approved the budget for the Asian Tour from the state government," Subramaniam said.

Sporting activities in the country involving Pakistani players have severely affected in the aftermath the terror attack that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.

Earlier this week, a three-member Pakistani shooting contingent was denied visas to compete in the ongoing ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup here, a development that irked the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A miffed IOC shot off a strongly-worded letter to India, asking for written assurances from the government for smooth entry into the country of all athletes of the participating nations, or else risk losing out on hosting international events.

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