Simon Lichtenberg will become a professional snooker player after the World Snooker Federation said it would be wrong for him to miss out on a career in the game because of political differences.
The 20-year-old German won last weekend’s EBSA U21 Championship meaning, in normal circumstances, he would have been guaranteed a place on the World Snooker tour for at least the next two seasons.
But because his German national body for snooker did not join up to the newly launched Word Snooker Federation before the end of January – it meant he would be illegible to receive a tour card despite his stunning title win.
The World Snooker Federtaion – a body which aims to bring amateur and professional snooker together and help make snooker become an Olympic Sport – was launched last year and is encouraging national bodies to join them in their bid to make the sport as global as possible.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said he would look into the matter after Lichtenberg won the title beating Welshman Tyler Rees in the final.
And less than a week later after his biggest victory to date, the World Snooker Federation has mow allowed Lichtenberg to play on the pro tour from the start of next season. The body says it has taken into account his “exceptional individual circumstances”.
A statement from the World Snooker Federation says: “The WSF and EBSA have carefully considered the case regarding the EBSA Under 21 Champion Simon Lichtenberg. It is our view that politics should play no part in the sport and should not impact on the future career of a young and talented player.
“Taking into account the exceptional individual circumstances of this case, the decision has now been taken to allow Simon Lichtenberg to take up a 2 year tour card to compete on the World Snooker Tour beginning in the 2018/19 season.”
The statement adds that it expects the German Billiard Union (DBU) to join the Federation. It has made it clear that if it joins before March 1 there will be further opportunities for German amateurs to compete for a place on the main tour.
“It has been made clear that there are no barriers to membership of the WSF, official national and regional federations can remain a member of any other organisation they wish to affiliate to,” the statement adds.
“The WSF exists as the recognised pathway to the World Snooker Tour and to ensure alongside the WPBSA that there is a strict code of governance in place for our sport. Its mission is to provide playing opportunities in major events, prepare and educate elite performing amateur players for a long and successful career in our sport.”