The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards. The group was formed in Germany in November of 1987, as a result of the efforts of the European Pocket Billiard Federation. The Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU) was formed shortly after, and became the second member of the WPA. North America became the third member in 1990 and Oceania joined in 1992. The Australasian Pool Association represented Oceania in the WPA until 1999, until it was replaced by the Oceania Pocket Billiard Association (OPBA). It was also in 1999 that the Confederacion Panamerican de Billar (CPB) and the All African Pool Association (AAPA) joined the WPA and based upon this the WPA truly represents all corners of the world. The current WPA president is Ian Anderson of Australia.
The WPA is also one of the three member organizations of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), representing the billiard disciplines of pool, snooker and carom. The WCBS is the international umbrella organization that is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
After having had European Championships as the highest level of competition for many years, and being aware of the fact that many events were organized in the United States, many of the European players were becoming dissatisfied with the development of the sport in Europe and yearned for competition on a higher level. With knowledge of this, the idea came about to form a world organization.
At a European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) Board meeting in Germany during November 1987, the idea again re-surfaced. In order to make this attempt possible, all Board members voluntarily donated money of their own to create a logo, proper letterheads and initiate proper communication with various parts of the world. Soon after the work began, letters were sent to all persons and/or organizations that were known.
Kazuo Fujima of Japan immediately replied that Asians are interested in founding a world body. Strengthened and encouraged by his reply, an invitation was sent out for the first General Assembly to take place in conjunction with the 1988 European Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Fujima rapidly confirmed his attendance while no response was received from the USA. However, Mr. Paul Gerni appeared at the meeting to represent the USA. As a result of this meeting, a provisional Board consisting of Mr. Kazuo Fujima (Japan), Mr. Paul Gerni, (USA) Mr. Jorgen Sandman (Sweden) and Mr. Horst Vondenhoff (Germany) was created; each one given responsibilities to secure further development.
These efforts culminated in February 1990, when 48 players (32 men, 16 women, in separate divisions) participated in the inaugural WPA World Nine-Ball Championship in Bergheim, Germany. The event is now annual and is currently conducted in Qatar.
After the event, various federations spent countless hours in meetings establishing common grounds on which an intercontinental federation could exist. The first General Assembly was held on March 3, 1990, and it was at this assembly that the World Pool-Billiard Association was sanctioned as the international governing body for pool. The acronym WPA was chosen, so as not to conflict with the Women's Professional Billiard Association, already known as the WPBA.
WPA tournaments have grown considerably. In addition to the World 9-Ball Championships for men, women and juniors, there is an annual World 8-Ball Championship for men, World 10-Ball Championships for both men and women, along with several World Ranking events that are conducted each year in all parts of the globe. In 2011 more than 3 million dollars in prize money will be awarded to players through these competitions.