Just for anybody who is interested, which is probably none of you, last week when all of this was going on I sent World Snooker the following e-mail;
I've been a big fan of your snooker coverage on ITV 4 since you started covering the snooker at the Haikou World Open in 2012. Your commentary and analysis team are excellent. And are for the most part, better than the BBC. And you also show the end of the match, unlike the BBC who cut to repeats of 1970s sitcoms at vital parts of the match. You do a very good job.
Anyway, and I don't know if you know this, but there was a lot of controversy when the Snooker Shoot Out was announced as a ranking event last year. It's fine for a fun event, but it's inherently unfair to make a competition with non-snooker rules affect a player's snooker ranking. It makes a mockery of the sport. It would be like a game of pool or three-cushion billiards affect a snooker player's ranking position. It's very unfair, and has been panned by a lot of the players and fans alike. I've barely spoken to anybody who thinks it's a good idea that this travesty is a good idea. It should go back to being an invitational event.
Anyway, the reason I am moaning about this to you is that, after the last 12 months of Barry Hearn (CEO of World Snooker) taking a lot of flak for taking this decision, he seems to be now implying on Twitter that this decision was to please the channel showing the tournament. (Who he claims wanted their tournaments to have a bit of prestige, rather than just invitationals.)
I was wondering if you could confirm whether this had any truth to it. And if so urge/beg you to reconsider. The ShootOut having ranking points is literally the worst decision I have ever seen taken in any professional sport. And it would be a shame if a channel with such high quality snooker coverage is responsible for a decision that could almost ruin the sport.
I'd like to hear your input on this. It's important, as this controversy has lasted best part of a year, and the fans and players upset about it aren't going to suddenly forget about it. Is there no way that the Shoot Out can just go back to being the invitational event it was previously.
Many thanks for your time, "
Anyway, just now I got the following reply;
"Thank you for the kind words regarding our snooker coverage and your continued support.
As for the Shoot Out, we are all too aware of the reaction to World Snooker's decision to make the tournament a ranking event. We cannot comment on statements made on twitter, however we can assure you that we are continuing to look at the Shoot Out and how the game can best be served. The decision on whether to run the tournament as a ranking event or otherwise rests with World Snooker.
May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to contact us here at ITV Viewer Services.
If you have any additional comments, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Kind regards, "
I guess that discounts any suggestion of Hearn's that the decision was ITVs and not his.