While there has been no snooker played on the table this week there has certainly been plenty of talk about the sport off it.
Here’s a quick round-up of everything that’s been going on.
Stephen Lee Appeals
As expected, Stephen Lee has lodged his appeal against the 12-year ban he received a couple of weeks ago for match fixing.
Sports Resolutions will head the appeal, just as they did the initial investigation and hearing, with a new QC at the helm.
Lee was given an unprecedented ban that will see his career effectively end as he will be unable to compete professionally until his 50th birthday in 2024.
However, the Trowbridge potter continues to plead his innocence and maintains that the true facts will be detailed during his appeal.
Why he has taken until now to reveal these claims is anyone’s guess but it will be interesting to see what will be made of the next chapter in this saga, and indeed how long it will take to be finalised.
Either way, one would imagine that this story is nearing its final section, as there will be no turning back for Lee should the appeal prove unsuccessful.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Autobiography
Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s second autobiography, Running, has been published and released this week online and in bookstores.
The book has been serialised in newspapers who are, as ever, desperate for any story in connection with the five-time world champion.
Many snippets have been revealed, most of which neither come as a surprise or are all that new.
Yet, the ‘Rocket’ has claimed that he was approached a decade ago to fix matches in the Premier League for 20K pounds – a request he quickly refused.
John Higgins was given a fine and six-month ban for failing to report to authorities an approach to fix matches in 2010 but it is unlikely that O’Sullivan will suffer a similar fate.
The incident occurred outside of this regime’s, and the last’s, jurisdiction so it is with all probability that this will go unnoticed.
However, the governing body may reiterate their request from a a fortnight ago, when Ronnie reacted to Lee’s case by claiming the sport was rife with underground foul play, to share his overall knowledge of match-fixing in the sport and the players who may be involved.
I’ll read Ronnie’s book eventually but his first outing with paperback was repetitively boring and, despite a lot having happened in ten years, I expect the second could follow a similar route.
Elsewhere, it has been announced that there will not be a pre-qualifying round for the Welsh Open outside of the main venue.
Instead, Newport Centre will host all rounds, including the last 128, in a long format that sees the tournament increased to twelve days in length – four days longer than usual.
Television coverage will commence in the second week but punters will be able to visit the venue from the outset.
Whether this will work in revamping a tired event is up for debate.
The Welsh Open has for many years struggled to attract too much attention and is widely considered to be one of the least favoured full ranking events – along with the Australian Open.
Yet, it is one of the longest running tournaments on the calendar having being first established way back in 1992.
Last year’s final was a cracking affair between Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham and organisers will be hoping the prospect of all of the game’s biggest stars in the same place at the same time will garner more excitement in the area.
Finally, next week the inaugural Indian Open will take place and I’ll write a full preview for that over the weekend.
Until then, have a good one.