The Chairman of the World Snooker Tour (WST), Steve Dawson, has responded to recent comments made by snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan in the media, labeling them as “misguided” and “damaging”.
Dawson stated that O’Sullivan has never attended a players’ meeting or engaged with the WST to discuss his opinions, despite having several formal channels available to him. Dawson also challenged O’Sullivan’s comparison of snooker to golf and tennis, stating that he has not acted as a role model like Rory McIlroy or Roger Federer.
Dawson highlighted the growth of snooker since the commercial rights were awarded to Matchroom Sport in 2010, citing the increase in events and prize money. He acknowledged that the pandemic had caused a dip in prize money, but stressed the WST’s determination to resume a full schedule of events in China in the near future.
Dawson also pointed out that snooker’s global television and the digital audience is higher than ever before, and that the sport has smashed ticket records in the UK this season. He cited the success of the Hong Kong Masters, a tournament brought back to the calendar this season, which was won by O’Sullivan in front of 9,000 fans.
Dawson criticized O’Sullivan for being disrespectful to the management, commercial and venue partners, and fellow players of snooker, and for suggesting that players should go on strike. He encouraged O’Sullivan and all players to engage with the WST, stating that their door is always open.
In conclusion, Dawson stated that snooker is bigger than any player and will continue to grow , and that his message to O’Sullivan and all players is to come and talk to him and the team.