World Snooker Withdraws Scottish Tour Spot (Updated)

Scotland may have been the country that has produced the game’s greatest ever player in the form of Stephen Hendry, but at amateur level at least, the running of the sport has been far from harmonious for some time. Unfortunately this has now led to the withdrawal of the main tour place for Scotland from the start of next season until a way forward can be found…

The letter confirming the withdrawal of the main tour place can be found below, as posted originally here on the Scottish Snooker Ltd website:

“29 October 2009

To: Alec Cameron

Paul Marinello

Snooker in Scotland

Further to the statement issued by World Snooker on 23 October, summarising the discussions held during a mediation process between the parties involved in snooker in Scotland, a decision has been taken concerning the allocation of a place for Scottish amateur players on the World Snooker professional Tour.

Prior to reaching this decision, World Snooker has had exchanges of correspondence with Sport Scotland. Sport Scotland and World Snooker have both received many enquiries from players, parents and other parties expressing concerns about the situation surrounding Scottish snooker. All of these factors have been taken into account during World Snooker’s consideration of this matter.

During the mediation process, World Snooker used its best endeavours to bring both parties together to seek a resolution to the ongoing dispute. To date, despite World Snooker’s efforts, it has not been possible to obtain the agreement of both parties to proposals for an appropriate way forward. Therefore, World Snooker will now be withdrawing from any further involvement.

In the meantime the professional Tour place for Scotland for the 2010/2011 season and thereafter will be withdrawn until such time as there is a single unified amateur national body for snooker in Scotland that has the support and confidence of the amateur players who are suffering as a result of this long term dispute.

Once an eligible Scottish player can be produced from a level and equal playing route World Snooker will review its position.

Yours sincerely

Elaine Eyers
Company Secretary”

The ‘ongoing dispute’ as it is described in the letter is something that unfortunately that I have been aware of for some time, but unfortunately I am not overly familiar with the detailed facts. As a result of not only this, but also the strength of feeling from the various parties concerned, I am not going to say too much on the subject here myself.

For a flavour of the issues however you only have to look at the comments on this piece from Dave Hendon on Snooker Scene Blog, while over at the aforementioned Scottish Snooker Ltd website you can follow the events over the last month or so that have led to this decision from World Snooker.

The statement dated 23/10/2009 from World Snooker is of particular interest:


World Snooker received an approach from Paul Marinello on 21 September to mediate between the parties involved in snooker in Scotland and World Snooker offered to help.

World Snooker contacted Alec Cameron to see if he would be prepared to meet and Alec Cameron agreed to do so.

Prior to the approach from Mr Marinello, Jim McMahon had no involvement with Alec Cameron or  Paul Marinello and attended the meetings as an independent mediator on behalf of World Snooker.

J McMahon met separately with Paul Marinello (14 October) and Alec Cameron (15 October).

J McMahon agreed to meet again with both parties together on 19 October. It was established that both Alec and Paul had the authority and confidence of their respective associations to make decisions and both agreed that a way forward could be found.

At the meeting both sides put forward their reservations and issues, but ultimately it was agreed:

–    both parties agreed that the opportunity was there to take things forward

–    it was also discussed and agreed by both parties that some of the practices adopted were not in   keeping with normal procedures.

–    both parties agreed to go ahead with the forthcoming AGM scheduled for 25 October, but that the AGM would not be used to transact business, aside from presentation of the annual accounts. Then the meeting would be adjourned

–    both parties agreed that an EGM should be called as soon as possible to elect candidates to the board

–    it was suggested by J McMahon that both Alec and Paul should put forward two names each for election

–    both put forward one name each and were to confirm another candidate each for election

–    a formula was agreed regarding future tournaments. It was agreed that Paul Marinello’s association would play one more tournament so that both associations would have played two events. Then members of both sides would be eligible to take part in the remainder of the tournaments once the new board was in place

–    World Snooker was to confirm to both parties its view on which members would be eligible to vote at the EGM

These mutually agreed points were summarised at the end of the meeting by J McMahon, both parties shook hands and it was agreed that J McMahon would send a written summary to both A Cameron and P Marinello.

J McMahon subsequently sent both individuals a summary of the meeting. P Marinello responded agreeing that the summary was accurate.  A Cameron reverted back advising that what he had agreed at the meeting with P Marinello was not now acceptable and he made a further non-negotiable proposal.

This proposal was unacceptable to both P Marinello and J McMahon and in order to reach a fair conclusion, a one off final offer was made for World Snooker to adjudicate at an EGM where individuals could be proposed for election to the board in accordance with the Memorandum & Articles of Association. Each voting member of Scottish Snooker would have a “For” and “Against” vote.

This proposal was accepted by P Marinello.

Alec Cameron advised that he would respond by lunchtime today (Friday 23 October).  As yet we have not heard from him.

The purpose of this statement is to explain the course of events as World Snooker said it would make a further announcement following the meeting on 19 October.  In the meantime, World Snooker will now be withdrawing from this dispute and will be making a decision next week as to the allocation of a place for Scottish amateurs on the professional tour.

Dated:  16.15 pm 23 October 2009″

Whatever happens, hopefully some sort of solution can be found because the withdrawal of the main tour place can only hinder the progress of young Scottish players like Anthony McGill (pictured), further. Furthermore, what will happen should a Scot finish inside the top eight of the PIOS, or wins an IBSF or EBSA event?

Would their tour nomination be accepted or would they again be refused because a player has to be affiliated with his NGB, the NGB that World Snooker is not currently recognising?

Time will tell…