25.6.07

FIVE GO MISSING IN SHANGHAI

Has there ever been a more farcical start to a snooker season than this one?

After last week's news that Michael White was being barred from playing in the Shanghai Masters because he is 15 - even though Shaun Murphy had previously been given an exemption at the same age - and that Vincent Muldoon's European place had been given to a Thai, Issara Kachaiwong, comes the revelation that five Asian players have been unable to obtain visas and work permits to play.

Thus, Kachaiwong and Chinese players Liu Song, Tian Pengfei, Xiao Guodong and Liu Chuang will not be able to take their places in the draw.

It means only 11 of the scheduled 16 first round matches will be played at Pontin's in Prestatyn.

I think the Chinese players should now be given wild cards - though not be eligible for prize money or ranking points - to play in the final stages. It seems bizarre that they should have to come from their own country to North Wales to try and qualify for an event in China.

As for Kachaiwong, it was only decided last Thursday that he would be on the tour at all so how on earth could he be expected to organise a permit in time?

And how must Muldoon be feeling now that the person who was given his place isn't even playing?

For many years, Snooker Scene has advocated a reserve system so that players not on the tour can compete if there are withdrawals.

This shambles proves more than ever why this system must be adopted.

4 comments:

Newfred said...

Couldn't agree more -- this has been a really badly mismanaged start to the season. I guess World Snooker could be excused for the permit problems -- sports stars often have to travel abroad at short notice and this is probably a failure of UK immigration rules.

But as for Michael White being barred -- how ridiculous. He's so close to being 16 anyway, and what with the final stages being in August, it's just a very poor decision by World Snooker.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I know it is not one person involved here, but would it not be possible to have these players play their qualifying matches when the tournament starts.

They do exactly the same for Drago, Ding, et al.

Would that not be a possible solution?

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Joe - not really because they start in the first round so all the players in rounds two to four that they'd meet would also have to travel to Shanghai, causing considerable scheduling headaches

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I've just realised that it is not the final qualifying round that these players are involved in, but the first of a number of qualifying matches. Unlike Drago and Ding, they only had one qualifying match to negotiate.

Thanks for pointing that out, Joe.