There could be a major power shift in snooker following the formation of a new players' union.

According to today's Daily Record, Matchroom boss Barry Hearn and Pat Mooney, who runs the World Series, are behind the new body designed to give players a greater say in how their sport is run.

The WPBSA is currently a union of sorts but the problem is that it is also the game's disciplinary body.

For example, forget the rights and wrongs of Ronnie O'Sullivan's behaviour in THAT press conference at last season's China Open for a moment and consider this: the very people who were supposed to be representing him (the WPBSA) were also the people prosecuting him (the WPBSA).

If you've seen Woody Allen's film 'Bananas', think of the courtroom scene where he plays his own prosecuting barrister and you'll have some idea what I mean.

John Higgins has recently been sent a letter ticking him off for comments he made in the press criticising the scheduling of the new Bahrain Championship, which cuts across a Premier League night he is involved in.

The WPBSA clearly didn't like what he said as they sent him the same letter twice.

A new union, provided it is run properly, gives the players a chance for their voice to be heard and represent players such as Higgins if he were called in to face disciplinary action for what is, after all, an opinion.

The question is, will it lead to a major overhaul in the way the sport is run?

Time will tell...


Anonymous said...

If the players are unhappy with the way the sport is governed, can't they vote out the board members anyway under the existing the structure?

I'm all for a players union if it can work properly, but it doesn't seem to make much sense when the players have the power to do things under the present arrangement.

Sam T

Dave H said...

Sam - it's not so much about the people as the way the governing body is constituted

Think of the new union as snooker's version of the PFA in football

That is how it is designed

andy said...

I might be reading too much into this but, to be honest, ...I don't think I am.

Reading between the lines, I see this as a huge threat to the WPBSA.

If too many critical decisions go against members of the PSPA, a snooker split could be initiated. And the fact that Barry Hearn is on board tells me the PSPA is imminently ready for this scenario.


Pat Mooney said...

The Association or Union has been specifically set up tocollect the experience of the players in the current game, also the collective experience of all commercial parties with interests in Snooker and to reform the channels of communication to accomodate the demand for this truly global sport.

The association will be looking at the whole structure and getting feedback before agreeing any constitution or suggested way forward. What we do know is that the future is bright and this association will give a genuine grass roots voice to the players, commercial parties and of course third party event organisers such as World Snooker Ltd, Matchroom and the World Series.

However it will be prioritising its objectives based on players input and requirements for the development of the game.

andy said...

What Pat has said is a little tough and ambiguous to figure out, I guess it's an official line. My previous comment was way too simplistic.

It's interesting that he says it's to "collect the experience of the players" and "collective experience of all commercial parties with interests in Snooker". Does this mean that votes and membership will go to commercial parties as well as professional players in the game? How does it currently function under the WPBSA, is that the way it happens there too?

How do you qualify to be a member of the new Association? Are all professional players automatically a member (plus a yearly fee)? I guess only members will have a voice.

Is it that issues to be voted on are raised in a different manner than with the WPBSA; so issues and ideas will surface that perhaps would never surface under the traditional (WPBSA) organisation?

How would the voting go a different way in the PSPA than the WPBSA, surely the players would vote the same way under both organisations. Or is that "commercial parties with interests in Snooker" might mean things turn out differently.

I guess I'm playing the devil's advocate a little here and I guess I might not be getting all the answers to my questions, but it would be would be good to hear some response. (nudge) (nudge) :o)

I have many more thoughts whirring around my head as I've only addressed membership and voting in this comment, but I'll leave it for now as it's late and I need to go to bed and be fresh for when the stock market tanks tomorrow morning!


hegeland from thesnookerforum.com said...

What I don't like about this is that Mooney and Hearn are behind it. It's as if Apple would start a union for Microsoft employees.

A players union has to be strictly separare from all the employer organazations. I see this as a way for Mooney and Hearn to challenge WPBSA, rather than a way for the players to challenge their employers.

andy said...

I see the company comparison a little "apples and pears" in this case (not always though). I don't really agree with the statement. I think this union will bring additional help to players who feel uncomfortable approaching the WPBSA. It could help with health insurance, pensions, and if they introduce a benevolent fund then even better. I would say that these kind of additional benefits are required for players that play on the World Series "tour" and not on the main professional tour (you see where this could be leading?? :o) ).

hegeland, how do you see the PSPA challenging the WPBSA? Surely the players vote the same way under both organisations. Maybe Dave could write an article on how the PSPA and WPBSA would differ when it comes to raising points of order and voting.

For the snooker layfan, it's difficult to see how the two organisations would operate differently when it comes to raising points of order and voting on them. Even if the PSPA raises something that the WPBSA would simply dismiss, it's difficult to see what the PSPA could do to implement such proposals if the WPBSA throw out a passed proposal from the PSPA.

Surely if this situation was to ever occur, we might, and I say might, lead to a split in professional snooker ranks. Not necessarily a bad thing. Obviously that's pure speculation on my part, ...and not necessarily to be taken seriously! ;o)


Malc Thorne said...

Snooker is not rosy at grass roots level - Look at the few pro-ams staged these days, entrants/events way down.

Look at all the clubs closing - Leagues are still going but most way down in teams.

Said it before if you do not feed the roots the top will wither.

Pull it all out and start again.

Anonymous said...

You have got to laugh that the one-time militants who were the only ones who were prepared to take any kind of fight to world snooker, and who fought for the right to stage tournaments where and when they so wished, are now neatly tucked away in a pocket of Sir Rodney and have to watch while others (namely another snooker management business based in Stirling) go and promote events all over Europe.
No wonder the mass exodus from 101dalmations continues.

deerfly, IOM

Pat Moonet said...

Hi Andy

Cheers for the constructive response and I apologise that my initial comments appeared a tad cryptic.

I would be delighted to discuss the motivation behind the formation of the association, and believe it or not it has little or nothing to do with challenging World Snooker,

Too much attention is paid to the wishes and demands of World Snooker they are like ourselves an organisation that run professional snooker competitions World Snooker are not an association or a governing body as I understand it, but I stand to be corrected. They are a Ltd Company that must by its very existence protect the interests of its shareholders as we do. This is not a bad thing but it has to be put in proper prospective.

I genuinely have no idea who the WPBSA are and what they ultimately represent therfore I can comment on their obligations to players, but in my time as a manager having gone through a range of challenges faced by the players I have had no correspondence, guidance or support to either my players or our company when faced with dfay to day challenges of Snooker Management.

The association will exist on a level where players will agree what powers they have, what conditions they play under, what constitutes a ranking event, what diciplinary process should be implemented across all events (not just World Snooker Ltd) The annual calender of events in advance and of course many more issues that will be raised by players from across the world that impact on the proper management of the game.

As for the comment on the blog that states they would not support because Mooney and Hearn are involved, I find that a very surprising commentconsidering they know nothing of me, my involvement in Snooker or contribution but still feel that they would not get involved. I would like to know what it is that I have done that would cause them to make such a statement.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Mr Mooney puts himself forward as the latest big thing in snooker.

For one, he’s only able to conduct his business in terms of the ‘world’ because of the battles fought in the past by others.

If he acknowledged that, he would also know the history of snooker and that anyone who has shown so much of a crumb of initiative is treated with suspicion.

However, I have a feeling that Mr Mooney would achieve a bit more credibility if he didn’t come across so much as some white knight trying to right all of snooker wrongs.

Others, better qualified and with more clout (e.g. his counterpart Barry Hearn for one) have tried and failed to make any impression on the snooker fraternity. Others with more money (Smith/St Clair/Doyle) have failed, and other again (Davidson/Altium) were let down by the cliquish factions in snooker.

So don’t be surprised Mr Mooney if you find opposition to your plans or ideas. Some people do it for the sake of it and others because they don’t want others to benefit. Look within your own camp first for some classic examples of those traits.

Finally, and I would like an answer to this, is why Mr Mooney believes a union will achieve more than what players can do (and have been able to do) from within their own organisation which they own?

The have never had any compulsion before to fight for their rights, or say enough is enough. So what makes you think that a union will work. Militancy isn’t a word in a snooker players vocabulary, otherwise they would have done much, much more by now.

Mr Mooney’s heart appears to be in the right place. As for his brains, that’s another matter.

A keen business watcher