Snooker players seem to be an astonishingly patient bunch as a rule.

Every year, their governing body promises good times around the corner. Every year, they fail to materialise.

A few years ago, I attended a press conference at Wembley given by World Snooker and two men from Brazil. They were promoting a tournament to be staged in Recife. Posters were handed out, promises were made and we all looked forward to the trip.

It never happened.

Shortly after this, World Snooker sent out a press release announcing an Asian Tour of China, Thailand and Macao.

Great, we all thought again. At last, snooker is going international.

The tour never happened.

And yet, the talk of better times ahead continues. Last season, there were just six world ranking events. This season, there are seven. In the 1995/96 and 1996/97 seasons there were ten.

Next season, there will be an additional ranking event in Germany. Or will there? It's been announced to the media out there but World Snooker cannot confirm its existence.

There is talk of a second ranking tournament in China but, as of yet, no confirmation.

The best guide to what will be happening during 2007/08 is the Betfred Premier League dates, which have been announced by the promoters, Matchroom and are available to view here:

As you will see, the dates make a professional tournament impossible between the week beginning September 9 and the first weekend of December, apart from the week in October set aside for the Grand Prix.

So there we have it confirmed: there will be no tournaments in November, leaving a huge gap yet again between the Northern Ireland Trophy (assuming it is on again) and the Grand Prix and then the Grand Prix and the UK Championship.

If - and it's a huge if - there are a series of new tournaments they appear to be slated for the first four months of 2008, which already accomodates the Masters, Malta Cup, Welsh Open, China Open and 888.com World Championship.

The circuit is clearly lopsided and players not involved in the League find momentum impossible to attain. There are far too many weeks when nothing at all is happening in the professional game.

A sport as popular and well supported as snooker deserves better than this.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Am slighted confused when you say that the German Open has 'been announced to the media out there but World Snooker cannot confirm its existence.'

Surely, World Snooker's press office would issue a statement confirming or denying the tournament going on the calendar.

I think I've mentioned previously how there are less and less tournaments taking place these days.

Personally, I would like to see the Regal Masters re-introduced or the Champions Cup, as it is far too early to have a world ranking tournament in August. It would be nice to push the Northern Ireland Trophy to the end of September/first week of October. August and Septemeber could be used for invitational tournaments as mentioned. This would also upset the organising of the Premier Snooker League. Again, I'd much prefer it in the second half of the season - where it used to be - and have the final after the World Championships.

I know venues have to be booked well into advance, but to have such a long break and then have one tournament after another smacks of bad business. I remember John Higgins having a go at the authorities in the 2004/05 season when, just after winning the British Open on the Sunday, he was knocked out the first round of the UK Championship by Wednesday. He was livid at the authorities.

Maybe you should set up a petition or poll on the magazine asking what folk think about this?

By the way, with a possible second tournament in China, I read somewhere that World Snooker now have an office over there, such is its popularity in taking off there now and in future. Is this true?

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

The German tournament has been announced in Germany but, things never being simple in Snookerland, the WPBSA cannot confirm it is happening.

They do have an office in China and a first rate man in charge out there by the name of Simon Leach who organises the China Open - not an easy task nor one I would want.