On the day that World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn launched snooker’s new integrity unit, how stupid was it of Ronnie O’Sullivan to try and leave the arena on 140 with only the black left to pot, as he thought it wasn’t fair that there was no prize money for completing a 147 maximum.
With just four thousand pounds on offer for the top break, O’Sullivan claimed that it wasn’t worth it after he had paid the tax. And then in response to getting asked if he needed the money, he responded with “Twenty-five (thousand) would have been nice so I could have gone on holiday.”
Pretty insulting to the people who had paid to watch his match.
With match-fixing allegations also rife in snooker, it would have been all that Barry Hearn needed, to see O’Sullivan exit the arena without properly completing the frame, and if it hadn’t been for referee Jan Verhaas’ intervention, then thats what would have happened.
I was though, impressed with what Hearn had to say on radio after the event. Pulling no punches he didn’t pander to O’Sullivan in a way previous others in Snooker’s governing body have done in the past.
Hearn said no man is bigger than the game and that snooker could survive without Ronnie, as there is plenty more where he has come from. He also said that O’Sullivan has made millions from snooker and owed the game plenty in return, and that he would have been up on a disripute charge had he not potted the black.
Last January, snooker turned a blind eye to him leaving the arena in the middle of the presentations and showing total disrespect after he lost 10-9 to Mark Selby in the final of The Masters, we heard all the usual excuses, like ‘Oh it’s the way Ronnie is, he has his problems’, etc.
For years now we have had to listen to O’Sullivan saying how he dosen’t love snooker, how he is going to quit, or go and play pool in America.
Barry Hearn said he wants him to be his flag-bearer for his new snooker era. He was probably hoping to have a similar relationship with O’Sullivan, to the one he has with Phil Taylor in the darts. A relationship that sees them both make plenty of money out of Taylor’s unique talent, and Hearn’s marketing ability.
Today’s comments sounded like a warning for O’Sullivan, that maybe Hearn isn’t prepared to stand for much more of his tantrums and disrespect for the game and it’s fans.
I think it’s high time he was taken to task for continually running down the game of snooker with his negativeness, if he dosen’t want to play snooker then he should clear off and let the others that do get on with it.