Only China can save snooker, says Ronnie O’Sullivan
Outspoken star says the sport is becoming ‘nothing’
Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan believes the sport needs a shake-up and the solution could be resolved by an infusion of Chinese cash.
The mercurial 40-year-old quintuple world champion – whose comments are never dull but sometimes spark disciplinary action – said the sport resembles a car boot sale compared to others whose packaging is more slick and worthy of the historic store of Harrods.
O’Sullivan – who was speaking on the sidelines of the UK Championship tournament where he has reached the last 16 – made the remarks after no snooker player featured on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominees.
“Maybe if it went to China and you found some billionaires out there who would put the sport on and have million pound prize money you could start looking at snooker as a core sport again,” said O’Sullivan, fondly known as ‘Rocket Ronnie’.
“But you’re competing with Formula One, tennis, golf and the Olympics.
“They give it [snooker] like 10 seconds on BBC Sports Personality – it’s a complete insult to the sport but it’s what they think of it and what they believe it warrants, and that says it all really.”
O’Sullivan, whose charisma and unpredictability make him easily the most watchable and bankable of the present generation of snooker players, said snooker was selling itself too cheaply.
“Snooker is becoming a nothing-type sport – it’s kind of like a car boot sale but with the other sports it’s like shopping at Harrods,” said O’Sullivan.
“They’re putting so much of it out there it’s cheap TV. I think snooker has lost that respect amongst other sports out there.”