The organization was founded in Madrid, Spain on 1 June 1959, and is dedicated to promoting the modern carom billiards games. However, the actual founding of the World Federation took place in 1923 under the name "Union Internationale des Fédérations des Amateurs de Billard" (UIFAB). The UMB monitors and controls international carom competitions and tournaments, and organizes an annual World Three-cushion Billiards Championship.
The goals of the UMB include favoring the development of billiard games as sports at the international level, and representing the interests of billiards in general. The UMB provides a permanent and stable liaison with its affiliated regional confederations, and constitutes the largest governing body in carom billiards.
The UMB is a co-founding member, and the sole representative of carom billiards, in the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS), the international umbrella organization encompassing the major cue sports (billiards-type games), including carom billiards, pool games of several varieties, and snooker.