Normally, we’d be watching snooker right now. For example the Ladies Paul Hunter Classics, or the amateur matches of the Paul Hunter Classics in Nuremberg and Fuerth, respectively. Even though there are only live pictures from the ladies. We would even follow the live scores online – which are not available for the amateur matches at PHC. It doesn’t matter. (Translation: Filia Rheni.)
However, we are busy being upset. We are upset about something we cannot understand. Something we find unfair and unnecessary. My Twitter-timeline is burning and I can’t help it and throw myself entirely into those flames
My favourite tournament, the Campion of Champions, brings together the 16 tournament champions of the current season. This time, so far the following players have applied via UK Championship, Masters, World Championship, World Open, Indian Open, Gibraltar Open, World Grand Prix and of course last year’s Champion of Champions: Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Allen, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Anthony McGill, Martin Gould, Marco Fu and Ding Junhui.
Stop right there! Ding Junhui? What has Ding Junhui won in the current seasons? Exactly: no title at all. He is listed as “World Championship Runner-Up (May 2016)”, yet ranking even before Gibraltar Open winner Marco Fu.
Time is running out for Robin Hull and Mark Davis
The means: There are five spots left with six tournaments to be played. And there are two actual champions, Shoot-Out winner Robin Hull and senior World Champion Mark Davis, who are not yet qualified. Due to lack of prestige, their titles are at the bottom of the ranking and they can only be included in case the last tournaments are won by players who have already qualified. But who wants to see Hull or Davis if they can get Ding? Here, a clear rule is simply being altered in order to satisfy certain interests*. Naturally, there are a lot of people who want to watch Ding Junhui play – including me. But qualifying him by means of a back door is neither a good nor a fair idea.
Annoying „retroacive alterations“
This is not the first retroactive rule alteration this season. Not only have the European Open been renamed European Championship and moved from Cluj to Bucharest, but due to space problems only 32 players were left out of 128 by arranging two qualifiers in England beforehand. Anybody who knows how long ahead you have to take care of plane tickets at a bargain can imagine that some players are now stuck with tickets they have no use for. Not to mention those who have to take an extra trip to England, even though they only wanted to play in Romania.
Yes, we know: Everybody is oh so grateful to Barry Hearn for his accomplishments. Many new tournaments were created, the new (Chinese) market is highly praised, the prize money (for the top players) is raised year by year. Yes, we are super happy about that. But only when we can ignore the fact that by onesided choices of sponsors, continuous distance shortenings, highly unfair distribution of prize money, inequal treatment of players, dictator-like behaviour towards the outside and similar nuisances both the sport itself, but also the active ones and the audience are being hurt. We wonder how long this can keep going on. Until then one tries to take it with humour.
Oh dear. I love you Barry, I take it all back. I didn't mean any of it. Please don't have me replaced https://t.co/bArxwMQLGS
— Mark Allen (@pistol147) August 29, 2016
*Concerning the certain interests, the opinions are unanimous:
@PseudoRolf No, me neither. It’s not Ding’s fault.
@Rolf_Kalb My two cents: it is about the tv-rights in China.
— Rolf Kalb (@Rolf_Kalb) August 25, 2016