World Snooker Championship: Sean Murphy says ‘snooker is in the best shape it’s ever been’


After his first victory in 2005, Shaun Murphy was aiming for a second world crown in Sheffield.
Location: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Meeting:April 15 – May 1
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Sean Murphy says “snooker is in the best shape it’s ever been” at the World Cup, which starts in Sheffield on Saturday.

His comments come as the tournament comes under a collusion investigation involving 10 Chinese players.

So is seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan strongly criticized How was the sport in March?

But Murphy said: “Snooker gets a clean bill of health from the doctors.”

The Englishman added: “The stark reality is that, by any measurable measure, snooker is at its best ever, especially given the pandemic and the fact that we haven’t played six or seven tournaments in China. The Far East is back online.

“If it wasn’t for these tournaments, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The (Covid) pandemic has hit snooker harder than most sports as it has lost a third of its revenue.

“However, we always showed a way out of the lock and were the first sport back to live events, ticket sales and the public to come and see. Snooker must never be forgotten for ushering in a very dark time for all.”

Four-time world champion Mark Selby, opening his first-round clash against Matthew Celt on Wednesday, said: “It was difficult to lose the tournaments in China, but it’s not really World Snooker’s fault because you never knew what was going to happen.” Arrival.

“We are hearing rumors that the tournaments will resume in China, which would be great, and in the future we can add even more and make the tour even bigger than before.”

Snooker’s financial balance sheet

The loss of several lucrative events in China has certainly seen prize money for the season drop from £15m before the pandemic to around £11m currently.

And a in-depth interview,external link O’Sullivan said an additional £50m was needed to continue the current tour. support for people who are usually out of the spotlight.

Snooker can be in financial trouble, so steps have been taken to help players prone to cheating get off the ladder.

An improved prize money system introduced in October means the 130 professionals on the World Snooker Tour are guaranteed £20,000 in earnings for the 2022-23 season.

However, it complicates an independent investigation into bid-rigging involving 10 players, including 2021 British champion Zhao Xington and 2021 Masters winner Yang Bintao, with hearings set to begin in the second week of the World Championships. .

All players currently suspended will face lengthy bans if found guilty of a range of offences, while fellow player Mark King is awaiting a separate hearing on similar charges.

“Having those auditions during the tournament is something we can use to our advantage,” added Murphy, who is aiming for his first world title since 2005.

“We will do our best to deal with this in front of the world’s media, and if they are found guilty, I hope we never see them again.”

Spread a game of pool

Mark Selby plays batting
Selby arrives in Sheffield as one of the favorites to win a fifth world crown

At the first-ever eight-man Tour Championship in Hull, its fourth event in five years, several players spoke. empty atmosphereexternal link in the opening matches of the final ranking event of the season.

Selby, who lost to Murphy in the semi-finals, said the sports authorities could make improvements to increase interest in the game.

“I know it’s a prestigious tournament, but when you think about Hull, it’s probably not one of the richest venues in the UK, but you probably had the most expensive tickets of the tour,” Selby said.

“If I had one criticism, it would be that the tournament should have tried to stay in one place for a few years to establish itself.

“You have big cities like Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool and they don’t have tournaments. I know venues are expensive, but if you want to raise the profile of the game, you want to go to these places.”

Masters champion and 2019 world champion Judd Trump, who has long called for the sport to be modernized and attract a wider audience, echoed Selby’s comments, adding: “We’re in a transition right now.

“A lot of the places I go, people come to me and don’t know the tournaments are happening, so there’s still room for improvement in terms of marketing, but you’d hope those running the game would listen and be a bit more supportive. money to advertise tournaments.

“You want it to be entertaining, too. Other sports such as football and cricket are adapting, doing things like light shows, fireworks and giving out prizes to fans, which snooker has yet to catch on.”

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