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International Bowling Federation
TypeSports federation
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
134 national federations
Official language
English, German, French, Spanish
Sheikh Talal Mohammad Al-Sabah

International Bowling Federation (IBF), formerly known as the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) from 1952 to April 2014[1] and as World Bowling (WB) from April 2014 to November 2020,[2] is the world governing body of nine-pin and ten-pin bowling. IBF was founded in 1952 in Hamburg, Germany by officials of the International Bowling Association (founded 1926)[3] to foster worldwide interest in amateur ten-pin and nine-pin bowling, as well as international friendship by encouraging world and zone tournaments and other competition between bowlers of different countries. IBF has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee since 1979 as the governing body for bowling sports. Starting with five member federations in 1952, it grew to 141 in 2010.[4]

IBF has member federations located in all five Olympic regions. With more than 100 million participants, 10 million competitors and 250,000 bowling lanes, it is one of the largest and best organized sports in the world.


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The foundation of IBF

The first attempt to coordinate the sport of bowling at world level by organizing world championships and by bringing uniformity through universal playing rules, was undertaken in 1926 by Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the US with the formation of the International Bowling Association (IBA).

In December 1951 the officials of the old IBA took initiative to invite delegates from all interested countries to come to Hamburg, West Germany on 27 January 1952 to discuss the status of bowling and the possible re-activation of the IBA.

Representatives of the following countries attended the meeting in Hamburg, West Germany:

The unanimous decision of all present was to form a new international bowling federation. The first proposal was to make it a European federation, but it was pointed out that the US being a strong ten-pin country, may also want to affiliate. The new federation would be a worldwide international organisation with 4 different sections: One for Tenpin bowling and 3 for Ninepin bowling: Asphalt (later: Classic), Bohle and Schere.

The new organisation would be named as proposed by René Weiss from France, Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ – International federation of Bowlers). Heinz Kropp from Germany was elected as its first President. Also Section Presidents were elected: for Tenpin Bowling – Hans Berger from Sweden; for the Asphalt Section – Leopold Hatzi from Austria; for the Bohle Section – Willi Stark from Germany; and for the Schere Section – Francois van Arkels from Belgium.

Country Tenpin Classic Bohle Schere
 West Germany

Although Denmark was not present at the meeting, it had promised to attend and for this reason considered as a member and included among the countries practicing Bohle.

All federations were given the task to prepare for each respective section, playing rules as well as regulations for equipment and to circulate such information among the member federations for comments before the next ordinary meeting. Weiss and Hatzi were authorized to draft a proposal for a FIQ Constitution respecting the IOC regulations.

European and world Championships

The first official IBF Championship was decided upon:

The ten-pin section was planning to conduct its 1st World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, in July 1952 during the Olympic Games. But because of Germany's disagreement based on the fact that three championships in the first year would be financially a heavy burden for the federation, it was decided that the Ten-pin Championships should be postponed to 1954.

After the circulation of the minutes of that Conference, Austria wanted to add as a leading principle for the newly established FIQ, that the Chairmanship of the FIQ or of a Section is not given to a nation, but to a person who has been elected to the position. That person would also have the right to lead his/her own national federation. The FIQ received its first funds from the former IBA, which was eventually dissolved in March 1952.

One of the immediate tasks for the new leadership was to recruit more member federations. Either Ninepin or Tenpin could be found in:

It took some time, but in the first year Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Saarland and Spain accepted the invitation. Later, the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany) and the Netherlands also accepted to be members.

In the first year (1952) there were also disappointments, because the 1st European Asphalt Championships had to be cancelled due to delayed preparations; they were moved to Zürich, Switzerland. The Championships for Schere, however, were held and were attended by participants from five countries.


The first FIQ Congress was hosted by the German federation in November 1952 in Munich; eight member federations attended. During that meeting the first FIQ Constitution was adopted and it became the guideline and law for almost 20 years. Also a scale and method for charging annual membership fees was adopted. Also this lasted almost 20 years until the first raise of annual fees and a new scale were found necessary. Another decision adopted, which would be impossible to follow today, was that the official language for all Congress meetings was German. Rules, however, were to be printed also in English and French.

The last congresses in the history of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) and World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) were held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, during which the merger of the two organizations into one entity, World Bowling.

World Bowling has officially changed its name to the International Bowling Federation (IBF) and has vowed to properly act as the sport's global governing body. The decision was made at the organization's Extraordinary Congress, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on the 2nd of November 2020.

List of FIQ/World Bowling congresses:

Year Host
1952 Munich West Germany
1953 Zürich Switzerland
1955 Saarbrücken West Germany
1957 Vienna Austria
1959 Leipzig East Germany
1961 Strasbourg France
1963 Budapest Hungary
1965 Stockholm Sweden
1967 Salzburg Austria
1969 Mamaia Romania
1971 Milwaukee United States
1973 Dublin Ireland
1975 London England
1977 Helsinki Finland
1979 Manila Philippines
1981 Milwaukee United States
1983 Caracas Venezuela
1985 Vienna Austria
1987 Helsinki Finland
1989 Wichita United States
1991 Singapore Singapore
1993 Rome Italy
1995 Reno United States
1997 Nottingham England
2001 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
2003 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
2005 Aalborg Denmark
2007 Monterrey Mexico
2009 Las Vegas United States
2010 Munich Germany
2011 Kowloon Hong Kong
2015 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
2020 Online


1953 brought six more member federations and in 1954 FIQ had 15 member federations in total. It took five more years (1959) to register the first non-European member federations: Mexico and Venezuela. These two countries had participated in 1958 in the World Tenpin Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden, as provisional members. The Constitution provided the Presidium the authority to grant new member federations provisional membership status, to be confirmed (or rejected) at the next regular congress.

The development of the membership looks as follows:

Year Associations
5 national associations
15 national associations
17 national associations
32 national associations
41 national associations
52 national associations
64 national associations
73 national associations
79 national associations
89 national associations
134 national associations
114 national associations


Year Name Country
1952 – 1953
Heinz Kopp West Germany
1953 – 1955
Dr. Iwan Krizanic Yugoslavia
1955 – 1973
Adolf Oesch Switzerland
1973 – 1977
Kauko Ahlström Finland
1977 – 1983
Frank K. Baker United States
1983 – 1984
Soetopo Jananto (Jap Soei-Kie) Indonesia
1985 – 1995
Roger H. Tessman United States
1995 – 2003
Gerald L. Koenig United States
2003 – 2007
Steve Hontiveros Philippines
2007 - 2011
Jessie Phua Singapore
2011 - 2015
Kevin Dornberger United States
since 2015
Sheikh Talal Mohammad Al-Sabah Kuwait


IBF regulates two disciplines – tenpin and ninepin. The two organisations that administer these disciplines are the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) and the World Ninepin Bowling Association (WNBA). Both organizations were founded by WB (then FIQ) in 1973.

World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA)

World Ninepin Bowling Association (WNBA)

See also


  1. ^ "World Bowling Celebrates Industry Wide Support as It Launches New Brand". World Bowling. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  2. ^ "World Bowling becomes the International Bowling Federation". British Tenpin Bowling Association. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  3. ^
  4. ^