January 29, 2017

New Beginnings and Uncertain Futures

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:36 pm

Shaun to the Rescue

There have been a couple of off-table developments over the last week that look to change the face of one existing governing committee and establish another exclusively for the players. There has also been one not so forward looking piece of news that may affect snooker, through no fault of its own, negatively in the short, medium and perhaps even long term. 

The WPBSA announced the other day the formation of a new Players Commission, replacing the old Players Forum, you know, the one which nobody ever attended and then went on Twitter to moan instead. Heading this new venture up is none other than Shaun Murphy, never short of an opinion or ten and for me a natural choice to hear the concerns of the players and communicate them in a more structured manner than a tweet might to the big wigs.

Murphy will be joined by fellow professionals Ken Doherty, Alan McManus, Dark Mavis, Mark Williams, Mark Allen, Joe Perry, Rory McLeod and Peter Lines. So they’ve got two of the games biggest moaners on board in Allen and Perry, with MJW there to presumably wind everyone up, Angles and Rory there to ensure the meetings last at least a week, the first with his opinions and the second deliberating what he is going to say, Ken there for the jokes and Mavis and Peter to make the tea, the perfect mix.

On a serious note, it’s good that some thought has been given to this and hopefully it will be the start of a more productive and communicative relationship between the players and the bosses, which can sometimes spill over into the public domain which, while entertaining for gossips like me, never really does anyone any good in the long run. It’s also encouraging that Shaun is keen to address the issues in the amateur game in the UK, something that he and I have some firm and strikingly similar opinions on.

The other appointment concerns the WPBSA Board itself, with Angles putting on another hat and pair of tartan strides to replace Steve Davis on that. He’ll certainly be busy but if there is one thing that Alan is not lacking it’s passion. I’ve heard him in person at the back end of a press conference giving his opinions on the sport in a well thought out way and I’ve also had chats with him about the state of the amateur sport north of the border, he’ll be a great addition to the board and I’m sure will bring that passion to the table.

In slightly less positive news this week the future of Eurosport in the UK on Sky services is in severe doubt and as things stand it could be lost from the platform in a matter of days as part of an ongoing dispute between Discovery, which owns Eurosport, and Sky. It’s unclear exactly who is getting greedy here but the sticking point is the money that is being offered and taken by both parties to keep the service.

I’d not presume entirely that Rupert Murdoch’s global corporate giants are trying to get it on the cheap but it wouldn’t surprise me, either way, the loss of this service will damage the viewing figures for snooker in the UK, to what extent we can only guess. Will subscriptions to ES Player via one of those dongle thingamybobs rocket on the news that it might be the only way for some to watch the snooker on the TV, rather than their devices? My guess is no, so the 10 year much heralded deal that Bazza secured just a few months ago now isn’t looking quite as lucrative to the sport as it did then. Watch this space.

Anyway, on the table the German Masters starts on Wednesday and I’ll get a preview up on here for that beforehand, it’s on Eurosport though whether Sky customers will be able to see it remains to be seen.

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