World Snooker has written to the players asking them to moderate their language and behaviour on social networking sites after receiving complaints from members of the public.

“We understand that use of these technologies to communicate to the public and sporting fans are becoming common practice and play an important role in the promotion of individual players and our sport in general. However, members do need to remember that they are at all times ambassadors for the sport and as such have an obligation to maintain its profile and image within the public eye when using this media,” said Jason Ferguson, WPBSA chairman, in a letter to players.

This is an issue affecting all sports, namely what players do when they are unleashed from corporate PR shackles and left to their own devices.

Just yesterday golfer Rory McIlroy got into an online spat on Twitter with a commentator who had criticised him.

Football chiefs have warned players they will be disciplined for inappropriate behaviour online. Liverpool’s Ryan Babel was fined £10,000 for posting a mocked-up picture of a referee wearing a Manchester United shirt on Twitter.

But before people start foaming at the mouth about ‘political correctness gone mad’ and other such nonsense, consider the governing body’s position.

World Snooker is constantly on the look-out for sponsorship revenue to fund tournaments. Snooker is not top of the list for businesses and the economic situation makes finding backers even harder.

The players therefore need to be mindful that there is a difference between being yourself and causing unnecessary offence which may deter a firm from associating itself with our sport.

The point about ‘freedom of speech’ is that there is also a wider responsibility for what you say, and not always just to yourself.

The vast majority of what players write on social networking sites is standard stuff and no reason to get vexed about.

It is an outlet for them to bypass traditional media and just say what’s on their mind and, even more importantly, communicate directly with fans.

Snooker players are not intellectuals and academics discussing matters of great pith and moment. They don’t need to be.

Most of them are just down to earth blokes trying to earn a living playing a game they love (most of the time). They engage in healthy banter because this has been part of the environment of snooker clubs ever since they started playing - and it's one of the best things about the sport, the lack of pomposity or snobbery.

But snooker players are also public figures whose words are closely monitored and Twitter in particular is now used as the basis for news stories, even when the original comments were throwaway or tongue in cheek.

It would be a shame if players felt they should retreat from social networking in case they land themselves in trouble.

Equally, it would be a shame if they damaged their own reputations with some ill-timed, ill-thought out comments that would perhaps best be limited to their private lives.


Anonymous said...

just tell WS to **** up

(belt up) ;)

Anonymous said...

what i want to know is who decides what is a swear word?

talking poo is ok

a lot of jobbies is ok

but to talk sh** isnt

or a lot of sh** isnt.


147 said...

While we are at it lets get Jason Ferguson to set up a ministry on comments and opinions with its ethos spinning around the slogan "All opinions and comments welcome as long as they a line with the view of the WPBSA".Please leave your human flaws at the door your now entering Oceania.

Anonymous said...

Snooker: The Fine Art © Method
A secret is wasted if not shared.
Dear Dave
How are you lad! I’ve been looking at some of “Our old posts” before your cousin or step brother Barry Hearn took over the reigns and saved worlds snooker.
Outside of the same six names (Dave’s Diplomats) that have kept your blog afloat I think you have lost or changed direction.

Blog sites should have names Dave like the original newspapers and magazines declaring there intentions for good.
I think Dave your site now should be called “The Mother Superior” as you are definitely “The Mills and Boon” of snooker writers.

I don’t think you are a cheat Dave but you know snooker is dead and needs strong decisions to change before these (Big Names) coaching schools creates a mass exodus to pool.

These lads will gain a bit of cueing technique but 9.9 out of ten will turn to pool which of course will suit Cousin Barry as he amalgamates snooker Darts pool with flower arranging. Mr Hey You.Daniel Marner@Mrheyyou on Twitter Facebook and Yahoo.

Claus said...

Again we get confirmation that a small group of complainers are allowed to rule the sport. Perhaps Jason Ferguson should consider that NOT ONE person who loves to get all sides of the players' personalities are complaining. I suspect that is 99% of the fans. The remaining kings of whining deem it necessary to twist the arms of those that don't act like they want them to or say what they feel is appropriate.

This IS a matter of free speech and the sponsors that World Snooker are working with are companies wanting business from me, the fan, and I want as lively a discussion and as much off-table shenanigans as possible. It is all entertainment.

Of course if a player is praising Hitler or something to that extreme or openly refusing to shake hands with certain refs, I understand the need to have a discussion with that player. But anything short of that could not possibly hurt business. In fact if we don't allow players to bad mouth each other publicly we are right back to the Walker years. Zzzzz....

We have seen ridiculous fines from the FA whenever football players go on Twitter and do utterly harmless jokes, sarcastic photoshopping or the likes. It would be sad to see snooker take the same route of intolerance. Barry, say something! Yes, I am close to foaming...aaahrgh!

Dave H said...

World Snooker have not threatened disciplinary action, just asked players to remember they are representing the sport, which is perfectly reasonable as far as I'm concerned

Then again, Barry Hearn is my step brother as has been sensationally revealed above

Anonymous said...

but Mike Dunn apparently has been Gagged from making Jokes on Twitter.

Jokes are just that Jokes.

you really want to understand these players behavior and who they are and if swearing or saying dirty jokes is what comes naturally then Bring it on!!!!!!

147 said...

Yes "i understand" now Dave world snooker are only reminding the members of their obligation to the sport but if one were to ignore this advise and launched (WMD'S) "MEANING WORDS OF MASS DESTRUCTION".Would disciplinary action be forth coming.It seems too me yet another watery attempt to curtail the last bastion of opinion the internet.The question should be asked why the need of such letters why the need for assumed control why the mammying.

Anonymous said...

Dave please tell fine farty to f*** off

(fart off) ;)

tatannes said...

Interesting to read this article just after the bust up one.

Snooker & Tennis golden age ? Alex Higgins, John Mc Enroe, Connors...

In 21st Century, we are all Carebears !

kildare cueman said...

Lucky you Dave. Thats your pension sorted.

Anonymous said...

Well I, for one, would be delighted if none of them were on twitter. There's nothing that'll break the superstar illusion faster than following somebody you've built up in your head as cool, who turns out to be just as witless as all the other 21 year olds your know.

It was better when everybody was "mysterious"...

Anonymous said...

"Snooker players are not intellectuals and academics discussing matters of great pith and moment."

You're telling me! It wouldn't kill them to pick up a book once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Mike Dunn was banned from making jokes on Twitter because they were complete sh*t.
Am I banned too for saying that?

Anonymous said...

This is not Twitter tho 5:55PM LMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

Off topic but i know you like your golf Dave, more Twitter controversy,

TazMania said...

I dont think that the WPBSA has done anything wrong, snooker always tries to show a 'clean bow tie waistcoat gentleman' image and Fergie just wants to keep it. Snooker needs everything it can get and if it does upset sponsors then players should listen to this. The problem will come if the WPBSA starts to ban players when they criticise the WPBSA just like the 'Rex William' Era and 'Walker Era'

Anonymous said...

and criticize commentators.

Rory Mcillory was bang out of order. Commentators job is to criticize as well as praising but twitter war over stuff that was said in commentary is pathetic. accept its a job they do and live with it.

tatannes said...

Sky Shoot Out was a real success and when snooker players talk, they seem to be normal people.

Remember they still go and train at clubs nearby.

I disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

The Sky Shoot Out was pants. It needs to be replaced with a sky ranking tournament. What people want to see is top level competitive-edge snooker. A bit of fun doesn't give that and therefore isn't entertaining. It's more like a laugh and a joke and players aren't bothered if they lose so it's not what I want to see. I want to see two guys really trying to beat each others guts out. It's rubbish.

Claus said...

Yes, as stated it was a written request to put up boundaries and do some self-monotoring.

But I would bet that the next step is fines and other disciplinary actions. There is little doubt that the road snooker is on with this letter to the players is increasing censorship.

Let the boys have some fun. Wouldn't it be nice if Barry let the players be bad boy characters, do-gooders, pranksters, comedians, philanthropists or whatever way they chose to be off the baize?

Anonymous said...


id rather see both

the shoot out + another "normal comp"

the shoot out was a great laugh.

the only people who didnt like it were ronnie fans cause he didnt win, or those who can possibly see harm in a comp like this over such a short time scale which was to me an added bonus.

Anonymous said...

it wouldnt be nice santa!

snookerbacker said...

I have to say having read all these comments I strongly agree with the posts by Claus.

Anonymous said...

The shoot out needs replaced with a proper event, can't take it seriously.

Anonymous said...

no surprise, sb.

weve always known you need a bar of soap for your mouth.

Juzza said...

I think World Snooker are just protecting their product.
We surely all want the game to grow and if in any way offensive comments on twitter or other social networks harm this growth then obviously that will be to the detrement of the game affecting all - including us as fans!
Players can surely continue to post comments, views and insights but maybe without swearing (as funny as some of the posts I've seen in the past are) - there may be kids reading too who see players as role models.
I don't think it's too much to ask?

Twitter: @JH_DM007
ps I do occasionally swear on Twitter but I work for myself ;-)

Anonymous said...

there are at least 5 players on there who arent "visible" but they can swear all they want...