Shaun Murphy
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Shaun Murphy – ‘we are at 11 weeks and nobody has been paid’

Professional snooker players are waiting months to get paid from some international events, Shaun Murphy said on Friday.

The Magician was discussing the topic on the latest episode of his podcast with Phil Seymour.

Last week, a new lucrative event in Saudi Arabia was announced with only the top eight from the world rankings plus two wildcards invited to participate in March.

As the world number six, Murphy is provisionally in line to receive one of those invites, but there has been some disgruntlement from those further down the rankings.

Several players have spoken out about the lack of opportunities for those outside the elite bracket.

While Murphy can see both sides of the conundrum facing the World Snooker Tour in entering new markets, he is also sympathetic towards those craving more chances to earn.

Of particular concern is the fact that, as the 41 year-old outlined, there have been events in China this season from which the players haven’t been paid yet.

“Pre-covid we were promised a full-field ranking event out (in Saudi Arabia),” Shaun Murphy said on the OneFourSeven Snooker Podcast.

“My overriding feeling was relief that a version of that has landed, quickly followed by where’s the full-field ranking tournament that we were promised?”

“Where is it? Where is the tournament for everybody?

“If you go back as far as you want, taking a select field of players to promote the game in that area, in that culture, in that territory – getting it off the ground followed by a full-field event for everyone a year or two later – that’s very normal.

“That’s been a key marketing strategy for World Snooker since day one.

“It was out in China, it was Hong Kong, India. Pretty much everywhere we’ve been, that’s been the model.

“Just with my player’s hat on, I think one of the things that motivates some of the players to be a little bit crestfallen about it is that – and a lot of people won’t know this – for instance, we’ve opened our markets back up to the Chinese events.

“I think most of the public won’t be aware, but as we record this we are nearly at 11 weeks post the International Championships, and nobody has been paid.

“I don’t know the ins and outs of it. This is a WST matter with the promoters out in China.

“But for the overseas events, the players aren’t paid by WST. They’re paid directly by promoters.

“We are told that getting money of quite large amounts in a lot of cases out of China is quite a complicated matter.

“There’s obviously tax to be paid, the way you’ve earned it, and the foreign entertainment tax, and all of these types of things, which are very normal when you earn money internationally.

“But the process is ridiculous, and how long it takes is a joke.

“There are players who earned quite well the last time we were out in China, in Tianjin. In terms of cash flow, we are all self-employed.

“From a cash flow point of view, having money that you know you’ve won but haven’t seen is a difficult world to live in.

“Meanwhile, a tournament is announced for the top eight who are, in most cases, fairly financially stable. It would be seen as a bitter pill to swallow.

“Now that prize money from China, 11 weeks deep, is coming. WST are contracted to pay it to the players should it not be paid in a certain period of time.

“But having to wait that long for payment is a contributing factor to this mess.

“You’ve got to pay (your travel costs), and you’ve got to pay them for the next batch of tournaments, so flights to Germany next week aren’t cheap.

“Funnily enough, it’s not easy to get to from the UK – Berlin, for some reason.

“Everyone who has just qualified this week for the World Open has to fork out thousands of pounds to get out there for the World Open in Yushan.

“That’s not an easy venue to access. That’s at least two flights to China and an internal flight, because you can no longer take your cue in its case on the bullet train from Shanghai to Yushan.

“This has only just happened as well, and people aren’t aware of this, but it’s an extra cost.

“There’s some new law coming in about luggage length and sizes, you can’t do it. So that means we’ve got to fly to Beijing.

“Then take an internal flight to Shangrao, which is next to Yushan, so it’s a constant moving target.

“You’re asking players to fork out, and they are waiting up to three months for payment on an event that was months ago.

“It’s a little bit of a mess, so I can understand when this new, very big, very exciting event is announced for just a special few, it irks. I do get it.”

With snooker following a lot of other sports in entering the Saudi Arabian market, questions have understandably been raised concerning the human rights issues in the country.

For many years, Saudi Arabia has been accused of sportswashing – using sport as a promotional tool to cover up for other serious wrongdoings.

However, Murphy doesn’t believe that should prevent snooker players from taking advantage of the opportunities provided to them in the region.

“I’m uncomfortable with the assumptions that are made,” Shaun Murphy later said.

“Because you support these events and want to enter and play in these territories, that somehow equals supporting these regimes.”

“I don’t believe the two go together, I really don’t believe that you can make that link.

“Without going super political, at all, I think that when you watch the news and you feel sympathy for what’s going on in the Middle East at the moment in Palestine, that doesn’t make you antisemitic.

“You can do both. You can have sympathy without judging and belittling a different nation. The two aren’t linked.

“Wanting to go play snooker in Saudi Arabia in a tournament that’s a very big tournament, a very glamorous event, wanting to see the world and travel and do all of those things, doesn’t mean you support a regime with a poor human rights record.

“It doesn’t mean that at all, and I wish people would stop making those links.”

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. AzharMughal

    What Human rights you talking about???1st get your facts 💯 right, Have you spoken about what The Zionist murderers are doing to Palestinian people..all you want is Money 💰 the Arabs have it..stop crying 😢

  2. Assumptions? Facts big boy maybe you should arrange attending some of the street entertainment on offer in Riyadh’s chop-chop square after Friday prayers! Human rights aren’t an issue for the likes of you whose bank balances are fattened up as soon as you land in Riyadh that’s all you need to care about see it purely as a cash cow they’re wanting more tourists to visit but this isn’t like Shagalluf or a clubbing destination like Ibiza

  3. It never seizes to amaze me how us arabs,Asian and African continents ,whom are uncivilised because our western colonial masters dictate this fallacious narrative to the rest of Europe and America. ( this is 2024 who do you think you are ( Muslims gave you architecture saracen ( you call it gothic ).
    We gave you algebra, WTF its sickening how your neo colonialism is still at large
    Qatar ( LGBT ) agenda you were assassinating their character ( yet Qatari investors in UK and arabs ( endorse you shit in football GIVE US A BREAK,
    We are sick and tired of your cultural values and double standards ( yes its about the MONEY ,,,SO SAVE IT ,thankyou very much

    • Nigel Roy Lambson

      Nassau, your views about your culture are obviously very valid but they show how this dream of multiculturalism is just that “a dream” I would never fit into that world and you won’t fit into mine. People can shout and scream about historical injustice but however you dress things up you can’t change the past. Nature naturally segregate for a reason, mankind will never, ever understand this.

  4. Shaun is saying he’s doing it for the money and doesn’t care about sport washing. Such an ignorant person comparing Saudi Arabia treatment of LGBT and virtual slave labour to Israel defending itself to prevent another 7th October. Your words make you antisemitic Shaun.

  5. Don’t know how these people can accuse murthy of being antisemitic there is not a hair on his body that is bigoted. all tournament money should be paid into the w s a coffers before hand and distributed with haste before a ball has been potted.

  6. Omg this group is full of idiots.

  7. Jews, Arabs, Christians, White, Black, Asian….nobody cares, well…at least I don’t. There’s evil on all sides, selfishness on all sides, idiots on all sides, greed on all sides. You are all as bad as each other.

  8. Self defense 26000 and counting how many more have to die to appease their blood thirst. Snooker has nothing to with sportswashing its just a game. So play where you want.

  9. Hi snooker lovers

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