My mission has come to an end

interview with Marcin Krzemiński – anti-doping director of WCBS

– interview conducted by Maciej Urban.

Marcin Krzemiński – Master of Science in Political Science – University of Silesia in Katowice,

Sports manager – postgraduate studies – Academy of Physical Education in Poznań,

WCBS – board member-vice-president-director of Anti-Doping – 2012-2024

Chairman of the WCBS Solidarity Anti-Doping Fund – since 2022,

World Pool Association- Board Member – 2011-2012,

EPBF Board Member – 2002-2012,

East European Billiard Council – president – since 2012

President of the Polish Billiard Association – 1995-2007.

For twelve years you were responsible for the fight against doping in the world billiards sport. How did it start?

In 2012, I received an offer to become a member of the Management Board and chairman of the Anti-Doping Commission of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports. My predecessor died suddenly, and a vacancy occurred. WCBS was at the initial stage of building a training and anti-doping control system. We had general regulations, but there were no implementing regulations, no educational system, no control mechanism, and no professional disciplinary court. Tests were performed, but no one educated players, officials or coaches.

What was the biggest challenge for you?

I am a political scientist and sports manager by education. I am not a doctor or a lawyer. The first challenge was to learn the principles of operation and regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency. It was very difficult, because sporting life was going on, WADA demanded specific actions, and none of my predecessors wanted to help me. I got access to the ADAMS administration system, but I didn’t know how to navigate it.

What was the situation like in the billiards community?

The main challenge was to make activists realize that in order to keep us among the sports recognized by the IOC, it is necessary to take action in the fight against doping. While a few people at WCBS were aware of this, it was rather faint lower down. It was treated as a whim and not a necessary professional action.

Knowing about the progress, I conclude that something must have changed.

That’s right, a lot. In 2015, I created the WCBS Anti-Doping Code. Some sort of a constitution defining the tasks and procedures in our sport. I had trouble coping with it, but thanks to the help of WADA and GAISF staff, I managed to prepare this document within the given time. In 2021, things got better and the WCBS Anti-Doping Regulations were created. We began to adopt implementing regulations and issue interpretations allowing for a better understanding of the provisions of the Regulations. At the same time, I held dozens of meetings with officials and players, explaining the need for anti-doping activities.

What was the effect of these meetings?

Sensational. For the first time in the history of billiards, information with regulations and links to WADA and WCBS regulations appeared on several dozen websites of national and continental federations. WCBS has created a special section on its website where you can find information necessary for players, coaches, and activists.

I understand that the development of numerous documents is only the tip of the iceberg. Training was needed.

My colleagues and I knew that education was the key. Any fool can order control tests and penalize players. It is important that they are aware of their actions. However, it was very difficult, and the breakthrough was the penalisation of one of the best European players. In my opinion, he had unknowingly made a mistake and unfortunately WADA demanded a high penalty.

Anti-doping activities cost money. Did WCBS and members have the money for this?

More resourceful national federations contacted national anti-doping agencies and received support in the form of free education and some testing. At international level it was worse. WCBS needed specialists in disciplinary processes and experts helping in the creation of legal acts. There was still a lack of financial resources, so for a long time we only did what was necessary. I was tired of this situation, and I proposed establishing the WCBS Solidarity Anti-Doping Fund. The Fund was intended to raise money from business companies in the billiards industry and support the organization’s activities. In 2012, the WCBS Management Board approved the project, and I became the chairman of the Fund. I appointed several people to the Fund Council, and we started collecting money. In total, over EUR 34,000 was raised.

That’s quite a lot. What is this money used for?

We have trained over 760 people! The fund covered the costs of some of the tests commissioned by the world snooker, carom billiards and pool federations (IBSF, UMB and WPA) and all tests performed during the WCBS Championship in Ankara in 2023. It also covers the costs of the cooperation contract in the field of anti-doping matters concluded with the Polish Anti-Doping Agency. The idea of ​​establishing the Fund was considered brilliant and unique.

What is the situation with educational effectiveness and disciplinary processes?

Over a period of 12 years, I prepared and represented WCBS in 10 trials. WCBS won all of them! I’m proud of it because it showed that I did my job professionally. It was also very good news that there were no “positive” tests in 2023 and until mid-2024. I hope that this is also the result of educational work.

You have announced that your mission has come to an end.

Yes. Working in non-governmental organizations must be associated with passion and mission. I am not one of those people who fight to hold important positions for the rest of their life. I don’t lack energy, but I estimate that my mission as WCBS anti-doping director has come to an end. WCBS has good regulations, meets the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Agency, professional Partners and an action program.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me in this project. I would like to thank my colleagues from WCBS, UMB, IBSF, WPA and several national federations. I would like to express my special thanks to Dr. Michał Rynkowski, director of the Polish Anti-Doping Agency, and his colleagues. Without you it would have been impossible. Over the years, I have felt the support of Laetitia Zumbrunnen from WADA’s European office in Lausanne.

And what’s next? You’re not going to retire, are you?

It just so happens in life that when you close one door, another one opens. I have my own company and several other roles in various organizations: East European Billiard Council – president, head coach of Polish national pool team, vice-president of Swietokrzyskie Sports Association, secretary of Rotary Club Kielce.  I love traveling, so I will have a little more time to explore the world.

Thank you.