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Stephen Maguire has argued that snooker is “dying” after the Turkish Masters – scheduled for March this year – was scrapped due to financial issues. In an extraordinary rant at the bosses of sport, the 2004 UK Championship winner has argued those in “suits” have broken promises and let fans and players down.
The current world No 31 claims he spoke to key snooker figures at the start of the 2022/23 campaign, and was given assurances that there would be no shortage of events available to players, despite China yet to host a tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic: “The game’s dying right in front of our eyes. They have to do something, there’s something wrong,” he told Metro.
“If somebody doesn’t do their job, in any walk of life, they get their ass kicked or they get the sack. I spoke to the suits at the start of the season and they promised me there’d be tournaments on. Turkey was always a question mark and it’s turned out to be cancelled, so the suits aren’t doing their job, which isn’t good for the players.”
The 41-year-old is also sceptical as to whether the spot left by the Turkish Masters, won in 2022 by Judd Trump, will be filled: “They might find a replacement, but it’s against time now. Is it going to be a best-of-five, a league, a PTC? It’s definitely not good enough,” he added.
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Allen’s anger centres around his insinuation he was lied to prior to the campaign: “I spoke to [WST chairman] Steve Dawson, [WST president] Barry Hearn, [WPBSA chairman] Jason Ferguson, I told them I didn’t want to speak to the press, I wanted to speak to them man-to-man, which I did. They all gave me the same answer: we’ll look after you, the tournaments will be there, don’t worry.
“The tournaments aren’t there, so there’s something wrong at the top of the game. It’s worrying for players. It’s not good enough for most of the tour. I’ve either been lied to that things will be ok, or they’ve just not been able to fulfil it. Something’s wrong. There’s people out there ranked 28-29 in the world, looking at getting jobs. People from the outside think, ‘what a life you’ve got.’ How can you be 20-odd in the world of supposedly a global sport, looking at getting a job?”
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Maguire also suggested cutting the player roster, arguing it isn’t big enough for 128 players. The World Snooker Tour have responded to his rant, with a spokesman saying: “We share the player’s frustrations in the loss of the Turkish Masters from the tour this season. This event will be replaced, with further details be announced shortly.
“We are proud to have built a sustainable business where prize money is growing, where players have a guaranteed income and which captures the imagination of the fans. Unfortunately this narrative doesn’t fit the story being peddled by a few players who have experienced the highs at the top of the sport in the past and now choose to criticise snooker rather than play a part in our journey forward.”
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