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World Snooker boss takes down O’Sullivan as he blasts ‘you’re no role model’

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THE BOSS of the World Snooker Tour has launched a blistering attack on Ronnie O’Sullivan, branding his ‘state of snooker’ comments as “misguided”, “damaging” and “disrespectful”.

In an explosive interview with SunSport on Tuesday, the Rocket claimed snooker is “probably in the worst place it has ever been” and blamed those at the top for the way it is being run.

WST chairman Steve Dawson told O'Sullivan he needs to be a better ambassador for the sport

O’Sullivan, 47, reckons the Tour does not offer enough prize money, players are frightened to speak out and the only way to force through change is by striking.

Yet WST chairman Steve Dawson has now hit back, saying the reigning world champion needs to act like an ambassador and “as a role model like a Rory McIlroy or Roger Federer”.

And Dawson – who took over the top job from the retired Barry Hearn two years ago – warned the world No.1 that he is not bigger than the sport.

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Dawson said: “Ronnie is a fantastic player and a legend of our sport but sometimes his misguided comments go too far.

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“He often compares snooker to golf and tennis but I’d challenge him as to whether for his part he elevates the sport and acts as a role model like a Rory McIlroy or Roger Federer.

“We’re striving to take snooker to a higher level but we need the players to be ambassadors in public and to communicate any concerns they have through the right channels.

“Comments like those from Ronnie are damaging to us as a sport – and they’re unfounded.”

Dawson called on seven-time world champion O’Sullivan – who does not attend players’ meeting – to speak in private with the WST board to air any views in the future.

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The baize administrator said total prize money, which is £11million this season, had dipped due to the loss of China events following the Covid pandemic.

Dawson said: “During the time that we have run the tour, Ronnie has earned £7million in prize money, including the £500,000 top prize at the World Championship last year.

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“No doubt, with his talent, it would have been a lot more had he chosen to play in more events.

“Despite the economic climate, fans in the UK are coming to our tournaments in bigger numbers than ever. This does not suggest a crisis!

“He suggested that players should go on strike – but why? That certainly won’t drive new revenues.

“He also claims that players are frightened of being fined for giving their opinions but again this is not borne out by the facts.

“The number of players fined for comments made in the media is tiny.

“If Ronnie took advantage of his own massive global popularity to be a true ambassador for snooker then he could work with us to drive the sport forward for his benefit and for the sport as a whole.

“Snooker is bigger than any player. The sport will continue to grow and we have no doubt that in the years to come it will be more successful than ever before.”

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Source: The Sun

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