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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Women's game under threat
By Saj Chowdhury

The future of women's snooker has been thrown into doubt after the sport's governing body withdrew its support from the game.

World champion Kelly Fisher
I don't understand why they think it's okay to ditch the women
World champion Kelly Fisher

Players were sent a letter to inform them that all competitions had been abandoned.

The shock move effectively means the end of all major women's tournaments and could see the sport dissolve entirely.

Women's world champion Kelly Fisher told this website the decision came as a complete shock.

"There's been the feeling over the last two years that the World Snooker Association have not been as supportive of the women's game as many of us hoped," said Fisher.

"But for this to happen has come completely out of the blue.

"When the sport's new backers, World Snooker Enterprises, took over, we thought all of snooker's financial problems would be eliminated. It now seems that's far from the case."

Those financial problems have been a major thorn in the side ever since new government legislation was introduced to phase out all tobacco sponsorship in British sport by 2006.

But earlier this year World Snooker Enterprises entered the arena as the commercial arm of the sport's governing body and were handed the role of finding new sponsorship.

The WSE kept their promise to stage eight world ranking tournaments and one invitational event for the 2002-2003 season with a total prize fund falling a little short of their predicted 5.244m.

They also found new sponsors for the UK Championship, the sport's second biggest event.

But with money for the women's game taken away and lack of sponsorship for the old Regal Scottish and Welsh and Benson and Hedges Masters, it appears that snooker is once again in dire straits.

"I don't understand why they think it's okay to ditch the women," added Fisher.

"Why not all stick together and go through the bad together. It seems that as long as the men's competition is okay that's what matters to the governing body.

"My choice now is to get a full-time job or go to America and play nine-ball pool like former world champion Allison Fisher chose to do.

"But while I'm here, I'm going to fight and get women's snooker back on the road.

"Me and my manager Tim Gorst have spoken to the Sports Minister Richard Caborn and both him and his department seem keen to support our cause."

World snooker's governing body made no comment.

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