The head of the snooker governing body said that his row with world champion, Shaun Murphy was great for a sport trying to change its image.
The “shaun murphy” is a controversy that has been going on for a while. The snooker boss says the row is great for the sport.
In May, Steve Dawson took over as chairman of the World Snooker Tour from Barry Hearn.
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The way in which Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy were eliminated in the first round of the UK Championship by amateurs was “excellent” for snooker, according to World Snooker Tour chairman Steve Dawson.
After losing 6-5 against China’s Si Jiahui, Robertson was defeated 6-2 by John Astley, while Murphy slammed the inclusion of amateurs at professional competitions.
Dawson highlighted that those results, as well as the controversy after Murphy’s loss, had enhanced the game’s reputation in a wide-ranging conversation with Radio 5 Live that addressed the game’s financial health, the role of women on the tour, and drawing new fans.
“There’s been a great uproar, with a lot of interest from snooker aficionados and others,” Dawson added.
“When I called Shaun [Murphy] the other day, he was as astonished as I was. There isn’t such a thing as negative press. Overnight, ticket sales surged. In a perfect world, these discussions would take place behind closed doors, but they are taking place in the open.
“These aren’t the kind of amateurs you’d find in golf, where if you win, you can’t get any money.” These men earn the prize money they compete for, and £6,500 is a substantial sum for any amateur that might serve as a stepping stone to a professional career.
“They’ve all been wonderful tales, and it further strengthens our case for include amateurs in the competition. When you consider how far apart they are, not even in the rankings, they are very surprising. It’s fantastic.”
Cancellations in China are still a “major setback.”
Dawson took over as chairman of the World Snooker Tour from Barry Hearn earlier this year, and the game looks to be thriving on the surface.
Even in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic, the game can forward to the future with hope, with 30 events, about £15 million in prize money up for grabs, and audiences returning in venues.
However, because to travel limitations, certain prominent and profitable exclusions remain, with the International Championship, Shanghai Masters, and China Open yet to return to the schedule.
“It’s a tremendous setback that has a significant impact on the balance of the circuit,” Dawson said, emphasizing his goal of expanding the sport abroad.
“It’s something we’re always thinking about.” As far as I’m aware, they [the Chinese government] will not contemplate any modifications until after the Winter Olympics, so we’ll be keeping an eye on that.
“We’re looking at new events in mainland Europe and cleaning up places that have showed interest over time, so we may be able to identify a new venue that hosts events on a regular basis as a result of this calamity.”
“In terms of the United States, we’ve got a few irons in the fire. It is still in its early phases. There is a significant cultural divide, yet there is mutual curiosity.”
‘They’re growing battle-hardened,’ says the narrator.
The inclusion of female players such as women’s world number one Reanne Evans and Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee has broadened the global rankings.
Both were given two-year tour cards for the 2023-22 season, and although they have yet to win a match this season, Dawson compared his success to that of Fallon Sherrock in darts.
Dawson said, “These guys are on the Tour because of their ability.” “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have more women on the tour as time goes on.”
“They’re getting battle-hardened,” says the narrator. I realize they haven’t won many games yet, but they are always improving, which will give them a lot of confidence in the future.
“We’ve seen it with Fallon in darts, and there’s no reason a woman can’t do it in this sport.”
Jamie Broughton is a snooker reporter for Radio 5 Live.
Barry Hearn has been in command of the professional game for the last decade, so hearing the new guy in charge of the World Snooker Tour share his opinions on the sport and where he wants to take it was intriguing.
The WST published a statement earlier this week strongly disagreeing with Shaun Murphy’s views that amateur players should not be on tour, so it was no surprise to hear him suggest that amateurs filling up the numbers at events is important for the global game’s growth.
Snooker enthusiasts will also be glad to see that the sport can manage with the financial loss of major international events such as those in the Far East, and that plans to hold new tournaments in regions like North America, where pool is the dominating cue sport, are being pursued.
In York, Reanne Evans and Ng On-yee became the first female players to play in the TV stages of the UK Championship, and there was a suggestion that their influence may lead to more female players being handed two-year tour cards in the future.