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Interview with Dave Gilbert

Postby SnookerFan

Like most sports, snooker has been thrown into disarray by the coronavirus outbreak, and David GIlbert admits he has very real fears amid an uncertain future in the short and long term. WST tried their best to plough on through the crisis, continuing to hold the Gibraltar Open last weekend and only calling off this week’s Tour Championship at the very last minute. However, as government advice becomes all the more strict, no sport is seemingly able to run as normal and snooker has succumbed to the global pandemic. The next event on the calendar is the World Championship, starting on 18 April in Sheffield, but the likelihood of that going ahead is shrinking by the day.

Clearly health concerns are paramount, but with the World Championship offering the biggest earning opportunity of the year for self-employed snooker players, no trip to Sheffield could be hugely damaging for some on the tour. Even getting to the final round of qualifying, without appearing at the Crucible, is worth £15,000, which is huge for lower-ranked players. Gilbert, who is getting ready for isolation with his family amid the pandemic, says that no World Championship could be hugely damaging for many players, with no guarantee of when the next event will be after that. ‘I’ve been down the club the last couple of days because I’m actually trying out a new cue, but now I’m getting ready for lockdown with the missus and the little one, who knows for how long?’ Gilbert told ‘No one knows what’s going to happen. If the Worlds gets postponed then that’s a real shame, but if it gets cancelled it’s a disaster, we’re going to lose out on a fortune. ‘I’ve had a couple of good years, but I feel bad for everyone, there aren’t many players in our game who can not get paid for six-months plus. ‘There will be players down the rankings who might be really struggling. ‘When I was down there I was working nearly full-time as well. A few might be doing the same unless this is resolved soon.’

There has been no announcement yet from WST on the fate of the World Championship, with the situation developing daily. The Crucible has closed its doors until early April, and the theatre itself says talks are still ongoing as to how to handle the situation. The World Championship is the nearest and most pressing issue for WST, but Gilbert says concerns go far beyond that and into next season, regarding the multiple events held in China. The International Championship, China Championship, World Open, Shanghai Masters and China Open are all big-money events held in the country over the season. This year’s China Open has already been cancelled due to coronavirus and Gilbert is fearful that snooker will not return to China for months, which he says will be disastrous for the sport. ‘I’ve only heard rumours, but it could be that we can’t go back to China for six months, or even a year for tournaments,’ Dave continued. ‘I don’t know if that will happen, no one knows yet, but if it does it would be a disaster. It would be disastrous for our sport. We need China. ‘There are basically five or six UK Championships there every year, if you get rid of that prize money then players are really struggling.’ ... -12422014/