The Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS) has cancelled the Indian leg of the Asian Tour 10 Reds Snooker tournament due to concerns over the possible refusal of visas to Pakistani and Pakistan-origin participants in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had instructed all sporting federations to "neither award nor hold" sports events in India until they receive written assurances from the government that participants from all nations will be guaranteed entry.
The condition was imposed after a three-member Pakistani team was denied visas to compete in the shooting World Cup, which started in Delhi on Saturday.
However, Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) Secretary S Balasubramiam denied there was any connection between the cancellation of the snooker tournament ─ scheduled to be held in Bengaluru in the last week of March ─ and the IOC's directives. "The decision came much before the IOC issued a statement," he said, according to The Indian Express.
Balasubramiam explained that since six of the 24 players were either Pakistani or Pakistani-origin and had "problems with their visas", the Asian Tour had been called off by the ACBS board. "In the absence of these players, there was no point in having a tournament, so they did not want to have it."
A senior BSFI official was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that Pakistani-born Qatari player Ahmed Saif was among those not granted a visa to participate in the Bengaluru event.
Pakistan Billiard and Snooker Association (PBSA) President Munawar Shaikh on Monday confirmed that the regional body had scrapped the Indian leg of the tour. He added that the local federation had lodged a protest with the ACBS over the conduct of the Indian government.