World Snooker chief executive Jim McKenzie today reacted to the news that The Sportsmasters Network are to drop plans for a rival world tour as ‘a victory for common sense and the members’.
‘We are a members’ association and the will of the members was clearly against a TSN tour,’ said McKenzie. ‘We have received overwhelming support from the players, as is clearly demonstrated by the fact that more than 170 of them have already signed up to play on our Main Tour next season.
‘Our chairman Mark Wildman and his fellow board members have been resolute in defending the best interests of all the players, despite severe pressure from TSN to surrender the players’ commercial assets. The board deserves enormous credit for that.
‘I can’t say this announcement has come as a surprise. In my view, the TSN proposal was not commercially viable. It was quite clear that they did not have the expertise or infrastructure to put a world tour in place so their offer to players could not have been in their best interests.
‘We have delivered a powerful message to the players – that World Snooker is now an organisation with the right structure, top-level management and proper funding to take the sport forward. This was the criticism levelled at previous administrations by TSN’s chairman Ian Doyle.’
McKenzie refuted claims by TSN chief executive George Smith that his company were ‘acting in the best interests of the game’.
‘TSN are now saying that a split would be damaging to snooker. There was no split before TSN’s involvement. They seem to forget that the TSN players are first and foremost members of the Association,’ he said.
‘All we have done is carry on our business as usual and defended our established position as snooker’s governing body. All the disruption has been caused by TSN.
‘Despite this, World Snooker has made substantial advances in recent months with new sponsors and new commercial business partners coming on board for an exciting ride into a prosperous future.
‘TSN have had every opportunity to deliver their offer to players but it has been soundly rejected by them.
‘Now that they have dropped their plans for a rival tour, maybe we will now get a chance to proceed with our plans to take the sport to a higher level. Up to now, much of our time has been taken up with defending the members against an aggressive predator.’
World Snooker is now preparing its defence and counter claims for the High Court action against TSN on May 8.
McKenzie added: ‘While we welcome the opportunity to expose the underhand tactics and real motives of TSN, it is a shame that we have to waste more of the members’ money on this matter.’
For more details contact:
World Snooker Media Office on 0117-317-8200