Not for the first time the eyes of the snooker world turn to Sheffield but today we keep going three or so miles past the Crucible to the English Institute of Sport, venue for the WPBSA EGM and a kind of saloon bar for the sport's high noon.

Except it might not be quite so explosive as John Davison, who has put together a proposal to rival WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn's plans, has announced he will not be attending.

This is the latest twist in a tale so convoluted that it makes the Lost finale look like an average episode of Terry and June.

Davison is blaming Hearn for his own non-attendance. He said: "We do not feel that the board is adopting a fair process or creating a level playing field for all bids.

"I therefore cannot accept their invitation to attend. I very much want to address the players directly, something that the WPBSA board has expressly stated that I am not to do.

"I want them to have the chance to ask me the many questions I am sure that they have before making such a massive decision. I am always happy to compete - in sport or business - as long as I know that the rules are fair and being abided by."

For his part, Hearn is furious at what he sees as Davison's attempts to 'buy off' the voting membership - the top 64 - by promising them all a dividend of almost £5,000. He told The Sun: "I have a problem with the £5,000 a man to the top 64 players offer, especially when the integrity of the game has never been more important. I believe it could be against the Association's rules.

"Also, why wouldn't the whole player membership benefit and not just the 64 voting?

"The tactics being employed are not subtle and it brings into question the rest of what they are proposing."

I have gained the impression in the last few days that the tide was turning against Hearn and that he would struggle to survive.

He still might, but Davison's decision not to attend the meeting could backfire on the former Olympic shooter.

We'll see this afternoon. It would be nice to think all this could be sorted out calmly and rationally but it never has been before (see post below) so we may as well have another all out fight.

Opinions have been raging on snooker forums and in the comments sections of this blog. They have ranged from reasoned to outright insulting but I have let them all through because what is clear is that snooker fans really care about their sport and they want to vent their collective spleen.

We hear much about the players 'owning' the game. I'd argue those who pay their money to attend tournaments or watch on TV have an equal right to feel that they have some 'ownership' over snooker.

Whoever eventually emerges from this saga as the winner will have to carry the fans with them and persuade them of their vision for the sport.

Without them, the players, businessmen, TV companies and sponsors who spend so much time grasping for control of the game would have nothing whatsoever to fight for.


Sonny said...

Spot on Dave. Without the fans, snooker is nothing and the players would do well to learn that and vote accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Its a good point regarding the payment to voting members only.
Why not all of the membership?
Which I think amounts to 150 or so members.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
How are you! Is there any difference between Barry’s offer of money to the games Top Four Players and the offer by John Davison to the Top Sixty Four players? The exchange of “Perks” was and is equally Right or equally wrong.

As a snooker buff for x hundred years I think the game should repel all boarders and look inwards as Barry and John have done for personal gain.
The lovely game has created many multi million pound industries from Chalk to Tables not to mention the toy industry worldwide.

“Commercial Rights” is euphuism and could lead to the “Matchroom” snooker tables play best with J D clothes and the Matchroom Cues are far superior when chalked by Charlie’s blue chalk.
Snooker is in its infancy and hasn’t changed one iota in seventy years. The easy Tobacco money stopped the games growth and frighten off “Every Day” sponsors.

The game will never get back to the “Big Money” days until women players are seriously competing with men without concessions.
Advertise for a business man or women to run the game as a business not a sport. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

No one owns the game, the top players at any time are the custodians of the game and it is their responsibility to keep the game in good order until the next group of top players emerge.