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Snooker Players And Fans Are Up In Arms About Ruling That 'Makes A Mockery Of Our Sport'

Snooker Players And Fans Are Up In Arms About Ruling That 'Makes A Mockery Of Our Sport'
By Gavin Cooney Updated

As the BBC is torn apart by a remorseless Tory government and its institutional failings of the past couple of decades, one of its vestigial virtues is its snooker coverage. Marathon, nine-hour games without any ad breaks are anathema to the commercialised world that sport now inhabits, and it should not really work in a modern age in which we are told attention spans have dwindled to be unable to digest anything longer than 140 characters.

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Yet when these games are matched with the hushed silences of the crowd, the velvet undertones of the commentators and the stony, stiff-upper-lipped defiance of the bow-tie shuffling players, it all just works. The Snooker World Championships becomes a fortnight-long showcase of old-fashioned British values, and no broadcaster better fits a sporting event than the BBC and snooker.

A new ruling today by World Snooker has seemingly pandered to the opposite of what makes the World Championship so great. Barry Hearn announced today the one-frame 'Shoot Out' competition has been added to the list of ranking events. The tournament works thusly: matches are played over one frame, lasting no longer than ten minutes. There is a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes, and this is cut down to ten seconds for the latter five minutes. This ruling puts the tournament on an equal competitive level to the World and UK Championships, and a number of players expressed their extreme displeasure at the announcement. Mark Allen called it a "massive mockery of our sport" and ex-World Champion Neil Robertson had a rip on twitter:

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Unsurprisingly, Peter Ebdon - he a fan of notoriously slow play - as also unimpressed:

Hearn spoke to the BBC, where he was steadfast:

I can't let a handful of traditional snooker players take the moral high ground and say this is not proper. It's a bit snobbish.

What we are talking about is 128 players, the entire membership, a level playing field for everyone. It will make sure players are incentivised to enter and take it seriously.

Sport is about all the participants, not just the chosen few. There has never been a player in the top 16 that has ever won the Shootout. It's good news for those other players trying to make their way in life.

Has Hearn taken things a step too far?

[BBC]

See Also: Mark Selby And Marco Fu Made Snooker History In Bizarre Circumstances Today

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