The UK Championship 2016 has been a great tournament overall, especially the second week, but it’s not all smiles on the player’s side…
Earlier in this month Mark King, winner in Belfast, and Anthony Hamilton, semi-finalist, have revealed how hard financially it is on the tour, even for mid-ranked players. This week Jamie Jones, after reaching the QF, also claimed he was skint. Barry Hearn continues to deny the issue, but it is a real issue and I find the contempt he shows for the players, who are his more valuable asset actually, quite shocking. Top players have suggested that the tour should be cut to 96 or 64 and that the structure of tournaments should be changed. The last to do so was Mark Selby in this interview. He is the World and UK Champion, the World n°1 for nearly two years running. Will he been listen to? I wouldn’t hold my breath over it …
Ronnie “infamously” spoke about snooker as being perceived by the media as car-boot sales sport and, of course got stick from Barry Hearn for it. Now only days later, the UK Championship 2016 main broadcaster, the BBC, left in the middle of the QF decider between John Higgins and Mark Selby, in order to show some entertainment, not live, program. You can read here what Hector Nunns had to say about that on inside-snooker . So, Hector requested an explanation from BBC, what about Barry Hearn? Because, this, in fact just shows why Ronnie is right in his perception of the general media attitude towards his sport.
Then there were load of complaints about conditions. I just put here a screenshot of a little conversation on twitter between Mark Selby and Marco Fu (not exactly nobodies)
This has been an ongoing issue for years now: big bounces and kicks. Shaun Murphy has some strong ideas about the kicks, and I honestly don’t know if he right or partially right, but clearly he won’t get his ideas through as explained here by Hector (again) on inside-snooker. Now Jason Ferguson is someone who truly cares for his sport and the players, I’m certain he does the best he can, but it’s still a concern that such an important issue can’t be addressed after years of complaints. The players deserve conditions that allow them to show the full extend of their skills, and so does the paying public that comes to watch them.
And finally (for now at least), there is the small matter that the German Masters qualifiers start tomorrow in Barnsley and the players haven’t been informed yet about the draw or schedule. Which triggered that rather sarcastic tweet by Mark Allen :
Turns out the WPBSA do work on Sundays. I got an email from disciplinary yesterday. Any chance of the draw now? Thanks @WorldSnooker1
Just one many players complaints … they need to arrange travels and accommodations, mind you!
And just as I finish writing this rant, some players apparently finally got that draw… ain’t that magic?