Walker ousted as chairman (updated)

As you may well be aware by now, the result of today’s WPBSA AGM is now in and dramatically Sir Rodney Walker, Mike Dunn and Jim McMahon have have been been removed from the board. Continue reading for another article from TheSnookerForum.com contributor Suzy Jardine, as well as a few of my own thoughts…

“Sir Rodney, who had been chairman since 2004 was defeated 32 votes to 24, with 54 members of the total electorate casting votes. The 66 year old was not the only one to be booted out of office as fellow board members Mike Dunn and Jim McMahon were also removed from their places on the board.

The move now paves the way for Barry Hearn to become Chairman of the WPBSA after the sports promoter offered to replace Walker as chairman if he was rejected by the electorate.

But this development now means that Mr Hearn can now be co-opted on to the board by the two surviving board members Lee Doyle and Hamish McInness. However Messrs Doyle and McInness are not out of the woods themselves, as despite neither being subject to re-election they could still be both forced out if an EGM is convened by the membership.

Today’s result represents a new era for snooker and those of us who are fans of the sport should embrace it with optimism.”
To say that this could be a momentous day for the sport – one way or another, would be a massive understatement. As described above, the players have voted 32-24 to remove Sir Rodney Walker and two other board members for their positions, a marked contrast to last year when just 23 players bothered to vote, 21 in favour of Walker.
So what was different this year? I remember discussing the subject with a friend during the World Championship qualifiers back in March this year and we commented on how the players seemed content to sit on the sidelines and stay out of the political issues, indeed some have famously had their fingers burned in the past.
Understandably though the confidence of the players has been shaken in recent times by the lack of ranking event tournaments (just six this year), and sponsors, not to mention the controversial commissions taken by Walker on contracts that he had negotiated in the role.
The biggest factor however was surely the willingness of Matchroom Sport’s Barry Hearn to put himself forward as a candidate for the role, if Walker was to be voted out. The biggest problem in the past for those arguing for the removal of the existing board is that there was no alternative for the role, let alone a viable one.
Now though everything has changed and with Hearn waiting in the wings, we can only sit and see what will now happen with the sport. I am cautious, indeed Rome was not built in a day and the grass is not always greener on the other side (how is that for cliches?), but hopefully now the sport can begin to move forward. As Clive Everton said in his autobiography, that snooker has survived all of the years of turmoil in the past shows just what a sport we have and I just hope that we can start to move in the right direction again.
As ever, time will tell. Over the coming days I will post about what I would like to see happen now…