Snooker bosses send threat to five stars as Luca Brecel and co snub tournament

Princess Royal watched snooker championship final, Mark Selby says

Snooker chiefs have spoken out against the five players set to snub the Northern Ireland Open for an exhibition event in Macau. World champion Luca Brecel is among the group planning to skip the event in Belfast later this month.

Mark Allen will be at Waterfront Hall to defend the crown he won last year, with the Northern Ireland Open scheduled to run from October 22nd to 29th. However, four-time world champions John Higgins and Mark Selby will join Brecel in sitting it out.

Ali Carter and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh are also poised to skip the tournament in Belfast so that they can play in Macau’s lucrative non-sanctioned exhibition event.

In response, World Snooker Tour (WST) have threatened the five players in question with disciplinary proceedings, insisting that they will be in breach of contract.

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A statement released on Tuesday began: “The WST is disappointed to hear that a number of players under contract with the WST have elected not to play in a WST event, preferring instead to play in a non-sanctioned event in Macau thereby being in breach of the terms of their player contract.

“It is important to stress that WST players do not have to enter all WST events. However, with this level of freedom we do make clear in our player contracts that a player must not do anything that is detrimental to the WST or a WST event.

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“Given the exhibition event in Macau directly clashes with the final stages of the Northern Ireland Open, a player’s participation in it would constitute a breach of their player contract. 

“Unfortunately, despite engaging in email correspondence and phone calls intended to best explain our position and enable the players to make informed decisions, five players (four of whom are ranked within the top 16) have decided not to compete in the Northern Ireland Open and have withdrawn their entry in order to play in Macau.

“These players are Mark Selby, John Higgins, Luca Brecel, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Ali Carter, none of whom will therefore appear in Belfast.

“As a result, if these players decide to participate in the exhibition in Macau, the WST will have no alternative but to refer them to the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee for breach of their player contract, and this has been clearly communicated to the players.”

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