I was on holiday last week when the Ronnie O’Sullivan disciplinary hearing was held so I apologise for not posting my thoughts at the time.

I think the WPBSA have got it about right with their punishment. £20,800 is a great deal of money to most people. It isn’t to Ronnie but he still won’t enjoy paying it.

The 900 ranking points he loses doesn’t effect his position in the list but the important thing is that he has actually been punished for what was an aberration on his part that I’m sure he regrets. The sport has been seen to take such an incident seriously.

There are two interesting aspects of this to me:

Firstly, the disciplinary committee completely disregarded the opinion of the WPBSA chairman, Sir Rodney Walker, who submitted a plea on Ronnie’s behalf not to punish him. This at least proves they are independent of the main WPBSA board – which also includes Ronnie’s manager, Lee Doyle.

Secondly, why on earth did this take nearly six months to sort out? Last Saturday, the Denmark v Sweden Euro 2008 qualifier was abandoned late on after a Danish fan ran onto the pitch with the intention to assault the match referee.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee are meeting on Friday to decide what to do about it.

How could it take so long for snooker’s authorities to reach a decision on what happened in York? As far as I know, Ronnie’s management submitted medical evidence as to his specific condition pretty soon after the incident.

I don’t see what good it did snooker by dragging out the process like this. The lawyers involved might disagree, though – Ronnie had to pay legal costs of £5,000 towards the hearing, which strikes me as far too high.


andy said...

Hi Dave et al,

I generally agree with your sentiments. These kind of incidents certainly throw you back to the times of the great, impetuous Alex Higgins. But his antics always seemed to be more deliberate than Ronnie's some how.

It's worth noting that not everybody believes in the punishment. Someone commented on my on my blog why they thought the punishment was "draconian". There are arguments for and against and it certainly could be argued that illness forced Ronnie to walk out rather than a sane mind. It would be interesting to see what other people think!

Hope you enjoyed your holiday!!


Dave H said...

Hi Andy, it's wrong to call the punishment 'draconian' because the WPBSA are actually following their own precedent set with previous cases

andy said...

Hi Dave,

I didn't wholly agree with the "draconian" comment either, I still believe I agree with the punishment and I've yet to see an argument that convinces me otherwise.

But to play the devil's advocate and counter your comment, ...was the precedent set previously under the same circumstances, ie., the defense citing depression, ...which I think is accepted as an illness in the medical establishment.

With that kind of defense, maybe the punishment is harsh, ...tough call.

The bottom line is we can't have professional snooker players walking out on matches. That's, clearly, bad for the sport, ...although conversely a controversial snooker player can be good for the sport! :-)

Andy (kinda sitting on the fence)

Dave H said...

The disciplinary committee's argument with this may have been that if he was ill he shouldn't have been playing at all

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he wouldn't have been "ill" if he had been leading 4-1.
The punishment seems fair and should have been dispensed last year.However we know that would have been too easy for the WSA:)

Anonymous said...


Let us not forget that another governing body, the FA, have only in the last couple of years changed its regulations to have weekend matches with incidents fast tracked so players get charged quicker at hearings.

And this is football; lots of matches, and a lot more administration.

Snooker has always been slow in its judging. I think I've mentioned here in the past, that when O'Sullivan was found guilty of drugs whilst winning the 1998 Irish Masters, the decision to award the trophy to Ken Doherty and fine O'Sullivan was made in June. When was the final? March! Newspaper coverage? Zilch. Apart from a paragraph. And this really was a big story considering he was still under the two-year radar of being monitored for hitting Mike Ganley in Sheffield in April 1996.

The WSA in my eyes will always be a laughing stock. It is hardly a fast moving logistical nightmare of a sport, eh?

They just do not do themselves any favour.

Thanks, Joe