Antrim’s Mark Allen has attacked the new open draw idea, aimed to be introduced next season and backed by World Snooker boss Barry Hearn, in a second run-in with the governing body’s chairman inside a year.
Allen believes Hearn is trying to ‘sugar-coat’ the changes to the sport that are likely to see the best players in the rankings taking on those rookies and also-rans at the bottom of the list.
The proposal has received mixed reactions from players, with opinion among the top 16 ranked pros more inclined towards opposition than agreement.
While the change is still not set in stone yet, world number eight Allen, 26, believes Hearn is acting dictatorial on the thorny issue, believing that it is being railroaded through without a chance of opposing views being aired..
Meanwhile, Allen says that the pro snooker Tour is not missing iconic reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has withdrawn from the sport this season, saying players ‘don’t care’ if the Rocket is on the circuit or not.
The new open draw system, proposed by Hearn, has been rocking the sport since it was first mooted last year.
It will see all professionals, from top, including world number one Mark Selby, to the very bottom, having to enter tournaments from the first round.
The current system allows the top 16 to automatically reach the final stages of ranking events, including the Betfred.com World Championships at The Crucible, Sheffield, without qualifying while other players are filtered in at varying stages of tournament qualifiers according to their ranking.
Allen, currently competing at the Welsh Open, is vehemently against the open draw, similar to that used in professional tennis, because players in the elite group at the head of the ranking list have worked for years to achieve their status.
He said: “The top 16 are there on merit. We have not been placed there. Nobody suddenly wakes up and they are in the top 16, you have to earn your right. I have worked hard for it. It took me three years to get into the top 16 - it took Mark Davis close to twenty!
“We have worked hard to get where we are and next year it is going to be a step back having to start in round one. At the minute, obviously all the details have not been released about what is going to happen next year but, from what we have heard, there is no benefit whatsoever for the top players.
“The top players won’t be seen as top players. There will be very little advantage. It is probably going to suit Ronnie (O’Sullivan) down to the ground if he does want to play again.He doesn’t have to worry about his ranking, he can come in at the same round as everyone else and obviously he is capable of winning any of the tournaments.
“It is going to lend itself to people like Ronnie but I don’t see any benefit to the rest of the top players.”