While I was at the UK Championship qualifiers earlier this week in Gloucester it was announced that this weekend’s PTC9 tournament will be the last for Belgian number one Bjorn Haneveer as he has decided the leave the main tour…
To date the best player that Belgium has ever produced, Bjorn Haneveer first came onto the tour back in 1993, before returning most recently at the start of the 2009/10 season following qualification via the PIOS circuit.
Following a successful campaign, Bjorn was able to move into the top 64, thanks largely to a successful run at the China Open qualifiers which saw him make it all the way to Beijing. Recently however he has slipped down the rankings having not competed before the UK Championship qualifiers since the Australian Open qualifiers back in June, reportedly due to a shoulder injury.
And now he has announced that he will leave the tour, as reported by Belgian site Sporza. Forgive the somewhat ropey Google translate but the English translation is as follows:
“The PTC will be my last tournament in Antwerp tournament.”
“With twelve additional tournaments a year there is more prize to win, but your expenses grow so huge.”
“To pay for everything, I combine a job with snooker. When I’m not playing a tournament anywhere in the world, I work as a carpenter. So there’s nothing in the house of training and your level drops. Then of course you find yourself in a negative spiral.”
As he mentions, when he is not playing snooker, Bjorn is working hard at his carpentry business, as well as being employed as a commentator for Eurosport in his native Belgium and it would appear that he has decided that he can earn more from doing this than being a professional snooker player at this stage of his career.
The rights and wrongs of the expenses situation, in particular for players ranked outside of the top 32 has been debated to death, indeed my article on the topic back in July was perhaps my most widely debated blog in the past three years and since then little has changed. At the UK Championship qualifiers last week it was evident that player expenses are such a big issue for the players at the moment and that the PTC tournaments in particular are the subject of much discussion.
While I do not intend to repeat the same points again, both for and against the current prize money structure, Bjorn’s exit from the tour is a shame and it is probably safe to say that he will not be the last to be priced out of the game during the forseeable future.
Still, Bjorn will at least be going out on the big stage in his home country as he plays Jimmy White on the televised table later today. If that does prove to be his swansong then he could hardly wish for a better occasion on which to finish.
Good luck to Bjorn in the future and to read about his career to date, please click here to view my player profile page of him.