We all like watching Ronnie O’Sullivan and other top players when they are at their best…..who wouldn’t? But as true as this may be, it is becoming more and more clear that snooker fans are getting tired and fed up with some of the off-table antics from certain players.
With World Snooker allowing players to pick and choose which tournaments they enter, the format can therefore be left open for abuse by some players such as pulling out of tournaments at the last minute or after the draws and formats have been decided. What’s worse is, this seems to be allowed without reprimand by World Snooker despite fans disapproval across social media networks.
It’s unclear what contracts entail for each player, but one would have thought that there would be a minimum number of events a professional player must enter, and once committed, he may not pull out without consequences.
The focus this week has all been on Ronnie O’Sullivan, who announced his withdrawal from the new Evergrange China championship which takes place early next month. At the time of his decision, the draws had been made, the formats and times decided and everything looked good to go for this invitational event.
No doubt fans in that part of the world went ahead on that basis and bought tickets to see their favorite player. Not only would the fans of bought tickets, but they may have booked accommodation too etc which is not cheap, especially for those on modest incomes in that part of the world.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was due to play John Higgins in what would of been a classic no doubt but he decided to pull out. Instead Mark Williams has been chosen to take O’Sullivan’s spot.
Another thing noticed on social media this week from fans was annoyance that Ronnie and Mark Selby were scheduled to play their second round qualifiers at the venue in Romania for the European Masters, whilst the rest of the pack played theirs in Preston. Clearly this was a “money making decision” which some people argued on social media as ‘disrespectful’ to other players who have played at every event so far.
What fans need from World Snooker is clarity as to avoid disappointment. Something along the lines of minimum event participation and not withdrawing once committed unless due to extenuating circumstances. From a fans perspective, it seems certain players are calling the shots more than the governing body is.