PTC 12 in January will consist of only 16 players at the venue in Fuerstenfeldbruck, Germany due, apparently, to the unsuitability of the venue to hold the usual 9-10 tables required for these events. I understand this anomaly came to light at a recent site visit by organisers.
The WPBSA’s response was to announce a reduction of the field down to 16 immediately before PTC 11 in Sheffield in the week following the UK Championship.
They then announced a ‘consultation’ with players, the result of which is to stick to the original plan.
Although this is all rather unfortunate there are a couple of upsides: 1) all matches from the last 16 onwards will be on television and streamed; 2) UK based players losing in the early rounds will not incur the same level of expenses going to Sheffield as they would in Germany, although this isn’t much consolation to German amateurs.
Leaving aside the point that the venue should surely have been checked out much sooner, the WPBSA had to do something and I would say have come up with a reasonable solution, although the ‘consultation’ should surely have come before announcing alternative dates, not afterwards.
This taps into something I’ve been hearing about rather a lot. Not so long ago players were sent a letter on various matters, one of which was that the WPBSA staff preferred communication via email because HQ ‘is not a call centre.’
No it isn’t. But equally the players pay membership fees and should reasonably expect genuine queries to be dealt with. We’re talking here about their professional lives, the way they earn their money to provide for themselves and their families.
One of the problems is that World Snooker’s staff have been cut down to the bone – at a time where there is more to do than ever. In my experience they are not underworked, certainly not the officials out on the circuit who slave away in tournament offices for little thanks.
I know some players now find dealing with the governing body a bit impersonal, especially those being fined for tournament withdrawals without getting any sort of hearing.
And the situation surrounding PTC 12 seems to underline something many people are saying: that there are too many PTCs.
However, many of those coming up with easy solutions are not in possession of the full facts. World Snooker has contracts with Eurosport and Perform based on supplying a particular number of tournaments to be broadcast or streamed, so cutting back is not the simple option many assume.
Personally, I would suggest eight PTCs – five in Europe and three in the UK (with at least two of those in Gloucester) – with money saved by scrapping four put into the remaining eight.
But that’s easy to say. The commercial realities do not necessarily allow such changes [I of course haven’t seen the full contracts so am not fully sure how this stacks up].
Meanwhile, well done to Ricky Walden for compiling a 147 break in PTC10 yesterday, and to David Gray who did so in qualifying earlier in the week.
It was probably inevitable after I mentioned how relatively rare maximums are that we should have had three in a single week.