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WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP 2013: Barry Hearn complains to BBC over Ronnie O"Sullivan coverage

We deserve better than this, BBC! Hearn complains after coverage of O'Sullivan ends… for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

15:04 GMT, 21 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 21 April 2013

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has complained to the BBC, after they left the climax of Ronnie O'Sullivan's first round match at the World Championship to show a 1970s comedy.

O'Sullivan, making his return to snooker after pulling out of virtually the whole season, was about to complete a 10-4 win over Marcus Campbell on Saturday night when BBC2 switched to the Michael Crawford sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

There were various complaints made by fans on social networking sites, and Hearn responded on Sunday by writing on Twitter: 'Sorry to all snooker fans for the poor BBC coverage last night. Letter of complaint sent to BBC today.'

The complaint from Hearn is surprising when you consider how much praise he has heaped on the BBC in recent times for their coverage of the sport.

The corporation, which has covered snooker for decades, has recently signed up as host broadcaster of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters tournaments until 2017.

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, welcomed the public response to the BBC's scheduling decision, saying on Twitter: 'Snooker Fans, World Snooker letter of complaint has been filed with the BBC over yesterdays coverage, thanks everyone for your comments.'

The BBC hasn't yet responded to Hearn's comments. They are almost certain to point towards their coverage on the 'red button' service, which showed the end of O'Sullivan's match.

Some fans of the sport might speculate on the timing of Hearn's complaints. The BBC have regularly left their coverage of more significant matches, at later stages of the tournament, in years gone by.

The overall picture on the opening weekend of the tournament is a positive one, with plenty of column inches accompanying O'Sullivan's win, as snooker fights its corner among other sporting attractions like key football matches, the London Marathon and Bahrain Grand Prix.

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Some mothers do 'ave 'em

Classic comedy: Millions of viewers watched Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em on the BBC when it was first screened between 1973 and 1978

Watch a classic clip from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em…

Marco Fu beats Mark Allen at UK Championship

Fu denies grudge over 'cheat' claim after win against Allen at UK Championship

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 2 December 2012

Mark Allen suffered a sore first-round defeat as Hong Kong's Marco Fu knocked the Northern Irishman out of the williamhill.com UK Championship.

Allen predicted he would win if Fu decided it was a 'grudge match', following comments made by the man from Antrim during the World Championship in April when he claimed tonight's opponent had cheated in the past.

There appeared little animosity between the pair as they shook hands following Fu's 6-3 victory at York's Barbican Centre.

Winner: Marco Fu came through against Mark Allen

Winner: Marco Fu came through against Mark Allen

But on a day when it emerged the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) had written to Allen to ask him to explain his comments of last Wednesday, when he reiterated that he believed Fu had cheated in the past, it was a tough loss for the world No 8.

Allen's timing in repeating his view about Fu was unfortunate, as it came a day before the six-month probationary period on a suspended three-month ban was due to expire.

Fu has denied ever cheating and has never been found guilty of any related offence.

Fu tonight insisted he did not want Allen to be banned and Allen does not expect to face punishment.

Asked whether he anticipated a fresh charge, Allen said: 'No, I don't.'

Allen said he had sought out WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson to discuss the comments he made in an interview last week, believing he had been misrepresented.

Claim: Allen accused Fu of cheating earlier this year

Claim: Allen accused Fu of cheating earlier this year

He added: 'I'm pretty happy where I stand with Jason and Jason's pretty happy with where I stand in the game so I don't think I have any problems.'

Allen said of his loss: 'I'm obviously disappointed to go out of such a tournament so early but I just got completely outplayed.

'Marco started really well and I never really recovered. If he plays like that he's got a chance of winning the tournament.'

Asked about the situation with Fu, and whether there was any 'grudge' aspect, Allen added: 'It was just another match. We've both moved on. People make mistakes and I make mistakes like anyone else. It's just one of those things.'

When asked last Wednesday about his 'cheating' claims, Allen said: “It was a comment that I still stand by.

'I'd never said anything about Marco as a person. Marco as a person is one of the nicest people you'd ever meet.

'Obviously people make mistakes on the table. But aside from that, Marco is a great snooker player.'

A World Snooker spokesman said: ‘His comments have been looked at and he has been asked to explain what he said.’

World snooker drop betting case surrounding Steve Davis match

Snooker chiefs drop betting scam surrounding Davis match with Un-Nooh

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UPDATED:

16:50 GMT, 9 November 2012

Nugget: Davis was not under suspicion

Nugget: Davis was not under suspicion

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association will take no disciplinary action after completing an investigation into betting patterns in a Players Tour Championship match between Steve Davis and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Six-time former world champion Davis won the match under scrutiny, a third-round contest in Gloucester on September 8, by a 4-0 margin.

The WPBSA, which is snooker's regulatory body, was made aware of odds on Asian betting exchanges moving considerably in the hours before the match, with Thai player Thepchaiya initially an odds-on favourite.

, where Steve Davis won the match 4-0.

'The WPBSA process of making enquiries is very thorough and has included liaising with the Gambling Commission and a number of other partners in the betting industry. The WPBSA have found that there is insufficient evidence to show that there has been any breach of the WPBSA members rules and will take no further action regarding this matter.'

Mark Allen queries Ronnie O"Sullivan"s late withdrawal from International Championship

Allen queries O'Sullivan's late withdrawal from International Championship

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UPDATED:

15:22 GMT, 27 October 2012

Mark Allen has asked the first questions of Ronnie O'Sullivan's withdrawal from World Snooker's new flagship tournament in China.

The International Championship in Chengdu offers world ranking points on a par with the UK Championship and a first prize of 125,000.

O'Sullivan withdrew on medical grounds, prompting World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson to say it would mean 'huge disappointment' for the Chinese supporters.

Northern Irishman Allen, among the likely title contenders after overcoming a passport blunder to travel out, wrote on Facebook: 'So ronnie pulls out of china again!! Thoughts'

Outspoken: Mark Allen

Outspoken: Mark Allen

The 26-year-old added in a later post: 'Don't understand why he enters though. If he doesn't wanna play don't enter. It affects draws, rankings, sponsors, seedings and all.'

O'Sullivan's condition was not disclosed – but he was able to play an exhibition match against Jimmy White in Liverpool on Thursday. Last year he suffered badly with glandular fever and pulled out of the Haikou World Open in China and the PTC finals in Ireland.

The Chigwell man has expressed a dislike for the heavy schedule and travel demands on players in the game, with the ranking system in its present guise placing an emphasis on the importance of players turning out each week.

Despite winning the German Masters and World Championship this year, by taking a four-month break from competition following his Crucible triumph O'Sullivan has drifted out of the world's top 16. His ranking – currently 17th – will continue to slide for not travelling to China.

While the 36-year-old recovers at home, Allen will be looking to claim his second major ranking title, having won his first also in China at the Haikou Open earlier this year.

Missing out: Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the International Championship

Missing out: Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the International Championship

That came after Allen, on arrival in Haikou, launched a fierce attack on the tournament and local people which saw him reprimanded by World Snooker.

He almost missed the trip this time, having taken his wrong passport initially, leaving behind his visa.

But Allen is a player full of confidence and form, having recently won a minor tournament in Belgium by defeating world number one Mark Selby in the final.

'That win has been a long time coming,' Allen said.

'I was really struggling earlier in this season, but I've spent a lot of time with my coach Terry Griffiths up at South West Snooker Academy.

'He's helped me get my mind right. And I've practised hard leading into this event. I had a good attitude throughout.

'I'm really pleased to be playing well again. We've got some very big tournaments coming up, the International in China next week and the UK Championship is not far away.'

In the title hunt: Allen has a chance of victory in China

In the title hunt: Allen has a chance of victory in China

A dark horse for the eight-day Chengdu tournament is Stuart Bingham, who enjoyed 6-0 wins over both Selby and Neil Robertson in the Premier League in Guildford on Thursday, firing in four century breaks.

He and fiancee Michelle are due to marry next year, and Bingham's 16,000 one-night winnings will cover the cost.

'We're getting married in Cyprus in May so that pays for everything,' Bingham said.

'In practice everyone can play like that but to do it on the main stage was unbelievable.

'I've beaten the world No 1 and former world champion – well I hammered them.'

Absent from China along with O'Sullivan will be Stephen Lee. The world number seven has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation by the WPBSA into betting matters.

The action in Chengdu sees former world champions Shaun Murphy, Robertson and Ken Doherty all start their campaigns.

Ronnie O"Sullivan pulls out of International Championship in China

Blow for China snooker tournament as world champion O'Sullivan pulls out

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 26 October 2012

Ronnie O'Sullivan pulled out of the upcoming International Championship on Friday to deal a major blow to the richest tournament China will have ever staged.

The reigning world champion, who this week questioned his own decision to return to the tour after a short hiatus, has cited medical reasons for his decision to withdraw from a tournament which begins in Chengdu on Sunday.

Withdrawal: World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the International Championship in China through illness

Withdrawal: World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the International Championship in China through illness

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: 'We have been made aware that Ronnie has been unwell. The usual process for players pulling out of tournaments will now be applied.

'This is a huge disappointment for all of the fans in China who were hoping to see him play. However there is still an outstanding line-up of the world's best players at the International Championship and it will be a top-class event.'

The International Championship offers prize money similar to the UK Championship, with a total fund of 600,000, of which 125,000 goes to the winner.

Stephen Lee appeal against ban thrown out by WPBSA

Lee appeal against ban over suspicious betting patterns thrown out by WPBSA

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UPDATED:

16:41 GMT, 24 October 2012

Stephen Lee's appeal against the suspension he is currently serving has been dismissed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

Lee last week challeged the ban imposed on him by the WPBSA while they investigate suspicious betting patterns in his Premier League Snooker match with John Higgins on October 11.

The 38-year-old from Trowbridge appointed Robert Englehart QC to call for the suspension to be lifted, but World Snooker released a statement saying the appeal had been dismissed.

Investigation: England's Stephen Lee was suspended 12 days ago

Investigation: England's Stephen Lee was suspended 12 days ago

'The suspension will remain in place until either the conclusion of the investigation or any resultant hearings,' it read.

Lee was suspended 12 days ago, the day after he lost 4-2 to Higgins and only a week after he was told he would not face criminal charges over match-fixing allegations dating back to 2010.

Lee's manager Adam Quigley said in the wake of the suspension that his client was 'devastated' by the decision to suspend him and that the player denied any wrongdoing.

Ronnie O"Sullivan given a rocket for no-shows by snooker chiefs

O'Sullivan given a rocket for no-shows by snooker chiefs

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UPDATED:

16:40 GMT, 28 August 2012

Snooker's governing body have handed
world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan a suspended fine and issued him with a
warning after finding him guilty of failing to attend eight tournaments
in 2010.

O'Sullivan, arguably the sport's
greatest ever talent, was charged with not having a reasonable excuse
for withdrawing from 11 events between August 2010 and March 2012.

Flawed genius: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Flawed genius: Ronnie O'Sullivan

The 36-year-old presented medical advice at a hearing with the World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association, and it was declared in a subsequent statement that it 'could not be shown that he did not have a reasonable excuse in relation to his late withdrawal from one event in 2011 and two in 2012.

'He was however found not to have a reasonable excuse in relation to the eight late withdrawals in 2010.'

As a result he was found to be in breach of the sport's rule 1.3, which declares a member must play in a tournament in which he has entered, and was given a suspended fine of 1,000 and a formal warning and told to pay 1,000 costs.

World Snooker have long tried to get O'Sullivan, a four-time champion of the world, to comply with their regulations, and it was only last month that he agreed to return to the main Tour and sign a player's contract.

Joe Jogia banned from snooker after betting investigation

Snooker star Jogia banned from game until 2014 after betting investigation

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UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 25 July 2012

Joe Jogia has been banned from snooker until the end of the 2014 World Championship after an investigation into suspicious betting patterns ahead of a Snooker Shoot-out match.

Jogia’s game against Matthew Selt at January’s event was investigated by the sport’s governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), and betting was suspended after a bookmaker reported it had been the subject of unusual betting patterns.

The 36-year-old was provisionally suspended and the WPBSA confirmed in a statement this evening: 'Joe Jogia was today banned from involvement in the game of snooker and billiards until the conclusion of the 2014 World Championship and ordered to pay 2,000 as a contribution towards the cost of the hearing and investigation of the case.'

Banned: Joe Jogia has been banned until 2014 after an investigation into irregular betting patterns

Banned: Joe Jogia has been banned until 2014 after an investigation into irregular betting patterns

Jogia was found to have breached section 2.1.4.1 of the WPBSA members’ rules.

The section states: 'it shall be a breach of these rules for a member to…engage in any conduct …that is corrupt or fraudulent, or creates an actual or apparent conflict of interest for the member, or otherwise risks impairing public confidence in the integrity and/or the honest and orderly conduct of the tour and/or any tournament or match.'

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “In protecting the public image of our sport, the WPBSA has strong links with the gambling commission and the betting industry.

'The integrity of our sport is of paramount importance and today’s outcome highlights how seriously the WPBSA will treat such matters.'

Tonight’s WPBSA statement continued: 'The Disciplinary Committee of the WPBSA has today heard the case of Joe Jogia in relation to the suspicious betting patterns on his match with Matthew Selt that was due to take place at the Sky Snooker Shootout at Blackpool on Saturday 28th January 2012.

'It was alleged that a series of bets were placed on Matthew Selt to win this match and the pattern of betting was deemed to be suspicious. As a result betting was suspended on the match on the evening of 23rd January 2012.

'On 26th January 2012, Joe Jogia withdrew from the match citing an injury and the match did not take place.

'An investigation was conducted by the WPBSA which found that on and between 20th and 24th January 2012, a total of 19 bets were made or attempted, all at different betting shops in the Leicester area, on Matthew Selt winning this match against Joe Jogia.

'Fourteen bets to a total value of 4,830 were placed and four bets to a total of 2,300 and one bet of an unknown amount were declined.

'It was established that the two persons placing the bets were known to Joe Jogia as associates and telephone records demonstrate that in the period leading up to and following the placing of bets Joe Jogia was in repeated contact with them.

'There was no contact prior to 16th January 2012 then he sent 33 text messages and made three calls to one of the persons placing the bets and 42 text messages and one call to the other. Joe has failed to provide a consistent or detailed explanation as to the reason for the contact.

'Initially, Joe Jogia claimed that the reason for the betting must be that people were aware of an injury that he had suffered, but four of the suspicious bets were placed before he claimed to have suffered the injury and a further seven of the bets were placed before he sought medical attention.

'Although there was no evidence to show that Joe Jogia would have gained financially, the Disciplinary Committee found that the frequency and timing of this contact, his lack of a consistent explanation for the contact and the suspicions raised by the pattern of bets placed by his associates created an actual or apparent conflict of interest for him as a member of the WPBSA, or otherwise risked impairing public confidence in the integrity of his match with Matthew Selt.'

Jogia, who before his ban tonight was ranked at number 57 in the world, was asked to provide a doctor’s note after his withdrawal from the match.

On May 30, he was issued with a provisional ban until today’s hearing, effectively barring him from competing for almost two months.

'I don’t feel the WPBSA are racist, but it is a complete and utter disgrace the way they have treated me,' Jogia, who is of Indian descent, told BBC Sport at the time.

'I am being made a scapegoat. The suspension means I am missing a lot of ranking points and prize money. I need to play.'

Ronnie O"Sullivan will not be paid appearance money to stay on professional tour

World Snooker tell champion Rocket he won't pocket from new contract

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UPDATED:

18:03 GMT, 7 June 2012

Snooker's ruling body have warned Ronnie O'Sullivan he will not be paid appearance money as an incentive to stay on the professional tour.

World champion O'Sullivan declined to sign the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) players' contract ahead of the entry deadline for the first two ranking events of the season.

It means he will miss this summer's Wuxi Classic and Australian Open, and there is the prospect of O'Sullivan staying out of the game if he and snooker's authorities remain opposed on the contracts issue.

Going it alone Ronnie has so far refused to sign a new contract

Going it alone Ronnie has so far refused to sign a new contract

O'Sullivan said on Wednesday that he believed the WPBSA contract was 'too onerous'.

He will have the opportunity to sign the contract at any time and compete in ranking events later in the season.

But it has emerged through the WPBSA that there is a major stumbling block to snooker's biggest crowd-puller committing to play in ranking events, and that appears to concern his earning potential.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson directly addressed the situation involving O'Sullivan, stressing it would be unfair to the rest of the players if special privileges were afforded to just one man.

Ferguson said in a statement that it was a 'misconception' that players signing up to the contract were being 'forced' to enter events, and said it was intended 'to protect the players' income derived from the tour'.

He added: 'It is the WPBSA's duty to ensure that all of the players are treated equally and therefore it is our belief that all players should sign the same contract.

Crowd pleaser: O'Sullivan is the game's most famous face

Crowd pleaser: O'Sullivan is the game's most famous face

'We do not believe it would be in the interest of the membership as a whole if one player was allowed a different contract which could give that player additional appearance money.'

O'Sullivan, who knows how important he is to the sport as it seeks to grow its worldwide audience, could still be paid appearance fees by tournament sponsors.

However the WPBSA and World Snooker, the commercial arm of the sport headed by sports promoter Barry Hearn, are digging in their heels and insisting they will not be making an exception for any player.

Ferguson added: 'The World Snooker Tour is expanding rapidly and consistently on a global basis and it is set to grow further. We are looking for the support of the players as a whole in order to assist this growth.

'Ronnie O'Sullivan of course is free to sign the contract at any time during the season which would make him eligible to play in World Snooker events, but it is important to note that signing the players' contract does not in itself compel any player to enter any World Snooker tournaments.'

Ronnie O"Sullivan refuses to commit to snooker ranking events

O'Sullivan refuses to commit to ranking events as world champion confirms break

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UPDATED:

18:39 GMT, 6 June 2012

World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has refused to sign the contract binding tour players as he backs up his promise to take a break from snooker.

O'Sullivan said after winning his fourth Crucible title last month that he would 'have four, five, six months off and assess the situation'.

True to his word, he has not signed the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association agreement ahead of the entry deadline for the first two ranking events of the season.

On top of the world: Ronnie O'Sullivan won at the Crucible for a fourth time

On top of the world: Ronnie O'Sullivan won at the Crucible for a fourth time

O'Sullivan was critical of the demands of the contract in a statement released by his management company, Grove Leisure.

The statement read: 'I have decided not to enter any tournaments for the time being, including this year's Premier League and forthcoming WPBSA ranking events.

'I have not signed the player's contract as I feel the contract is too onerous and am in a stage of my career where I don't wish to make this commitment.

'I still want to play snooker and visit those places around the world such as China where snooker is enthusiastically received and adored.

Love for the game: O'Sullivan still wants to play in places such as China

Love for the game: O'Sullivan still wants to play in places such as China

'I hope to remain involved in the sport in some way in the future.'

He will miss one early trip to China, for the Wuxi Classic, as well as the subsequent Australian Goldfields Open.

He has also declined to enter the Premier League, but the development does not amount to the retirement he has often hinted at as he will have the opportunity to sign the contract at any time and compete in ranking events later in the season.

The next competition entry deadline arrives next month, with September's Shanghai Masters the next ranking event after Australia.