Nigel Mawer is a former chief superintendent in the specialist crime directorate of the Metropolitan Police and therefore carries great credibility as the WPBSA’s disciplinary regulator.
Mawer has been busy of late. Last week he banned Joe Jogia from playing for two years and also deliberated on four other cases.
Stephen Lee was given a warning after “two breaches of contract that directly related to his role as a professional snooker player that led to two County Court Judgements against him.”
Lee escaped punishment because he has put together a plan to settle these Judgements.
Mark Allen was fined £2,000 and £1,000 costs for failing to attend five promotional events (presumably in China) as part of his contract to play on the professional circuit.
These breaches of contract occurred before his £10,000 fine for comments he made at the Crucible so the six month suspended ban is not activated.
I have sympathy for World Snooker over this. Way back when I was (briefly) WPBSA press officer and there was a promotional evening organised in which Chinese snooker bigwigs would be in attendance. This was at a time when China was emerging as a new market for snooker.
I was given the task of ensuring a (very) well known player came along. He said he would.
At the appointed hour he failed to show. I phoned his room and asked him if he was coming down to the reception. He answered, “nah, mate, I’m watching the boxing.”
In those days when the players ran the game there wasn’t much you could do but times have changed.
Snooker has a choice. If it wants to be taken seriously as a professional sport then its players should be just that: professional.
Frankly, it doesn’t take much to spend a couple of hours meeting and greeting, listening to speeches and eating nibbles. I’m not a great one for stuffy formality either but such events in China are taken seriously by the organisers, and they are putting in the money which the players are going home with.
One caveat to that: the new WSL contracts stipulate all players must attend the pre-tournament reception on the Sunday, even if they are not playing until the Wednesday.
I can understand why players feel this is too much because they are, after all, racking up expenses going out to China earlier than they may wish to.
To no great surprise Mawer found that Jimmy White had no case to answer after a story in the Daily Star on Sunday reported that his aide, John Callaghan, had bet on him to lose a number of matches.
Callaghan had also bet on White to win several matches and his success was decidedly mixed.
There was never any suggestion – let alone evidence – that White knew of the bets or benefited from them.
I understand the case of Ronnie O’Sullivan, facing action over a number of tournaments he has entered and not shown up to, has been adjourned pending the further investigation of medical evidence.
For years players were disciplined for this and that without a word being released to the media so I commend the WPBSA for its more enlightened approach.
The fines, incidentally, go to Haven House hospice. I think anyone who saw their video at the World Snooker Awards will be hoping there are several more cases for Mawer to act on this season.