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Wednesday, December 23, 1998 Published at 21:59 GMT


Davis leads fight for change

Davis and Taylor - fought out a classic world final

Rival factions within the snooker establishment face the job of working together following the election of former world champions Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor to the sport's governing body.

Gordon Farqhuar reports (BBC Radio 5 Live)
The pair, who contested the famous 1985 final which Taylor won on the final black, were elected along with fellow professional Jason Ferguson to the seven-man board of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

But Terry Griffiths withdrew half-way through the voting and enough of the old guard remains to ensure that under-fire chairman Rex Williams keeps his job.

"I didn't want to be part of a split board. I didn't think that was the best thing for the members or for me," said Griffiths.

Co-opted directors Ray Reardon, like Davis a six-times former world champion, and Jim McMahon were also elected.

BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar says the two sides have reached "an uneasy peace".

An acrimonious dispute

Rex Williams: "Theres no animosity" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
Williams has been the target of severe criticism within the game, with many of the top pros claiming that the game has lost its profile and some of its revenue under his chairmanship.

"The present board are square pegs in round holes," Davis said before the meeting. "They know nothing about big business and are not prepared to restructure the association."

Williams retaliated by calling his opponents "liars and scandal-mongers."

Dennis Taylor "We don't need all this haggling and fighting"
But following the meeting in Birmingham, he said: "Everybody should be pleased with the outcome. There will be no problems created by me, but I don't know what problems might be created by those with self interest.

"Now we have got to try and get some unity into the game. There is no animosity between myself, Steve and Dennis."

WPBSA facing court action

The conflict between the board and players dates back to last year, when chief executive Jim McKenzie was ejected from office after just five months. He has since brought an action against the WPBSA which is due to be heard in the High Court next month.

BBC snooker analyst Clive Everton has also had run-ins with the association, having found himself banned from press rooms at both the Grand Prix and the UK Championships.

The vote prompted a downbeat response from Ian Doyle, who manages 19 leading players including Taylor.

"I take some heart but not a great deal. This game has true potential but I don't know whether the potential will be realised after today.

"I don't see how this board can achieve unity," he said.

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