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Ian Doyle
"I think TSN's tour will be the main one"
 real 14k

Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 12:01 GMT
Doyle gears up for breakaway tour
World snooker looks set to split into two factions
World snooker looks set to split into two factions
A breakaway snooker tour now appears inevitable after talks broke down between the sport's governing body and the group led by promoter Ian Doyle.

Doyle believes his tour will replace the current structure with many top players already committed to the new organisation.

The Sportsmasters Network (TSN) was in discussions with the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) with a view to assuming the commercial rights to events in the snooker calendar.

But negotiations collapsed and Doyle is now determined to go ahead with plans to break away from the WPBSA altogether.

Hendry is one of Doyle's charges
Hendry is one of Doyle's charges
Doyle, who has Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan under his charge, insists that players have been treated poorly by the WPBSA for years.

Doyle admitted he was disappointed no agreement had been reached with the WPBSA.

But he says he is convinced stars like John Higgins will be persuaded to join the proposed tour with the promise of increased purses, leading to the demise of the current tour.

"I think there will be only one tour - TSN's will be the main one," Doyle told BBC Good Morning Scotland.

"The bottom line is that the players have not had a fair deal over the years.

"An example of that is John Higgins who won the UK Championship last month and won 78,000 - Stephen Hendry won that title 12 years ago and won 110,000."


We will have terrestrial TV partners and I think that will be the key issue as to which tour is successful
  Ian Doyle, TSN
Higgins, Jimmy White and Steve Davis are among those who have not committed to the TSN tour, but Doyle is optimistic the majority of top players can be tempted.

"I think John is waiting to see exactly what we are offering, but John was very critical of the WSA last year with the incident over his brother's wedding.

"He also said the venues the WSA were picking were second rate, so I wouldn't discount him - John will go where the money is."

Doyle is equally confident the TSN tour will supercede the WPBSA tour, despite the huge attraction that is the latter's Embassy World Championship.

"We have a major world championshp on our schedule with more money than the current championship," he added.

"The most important thing is that we will have terrestrial TV partners and I think that will be the key issue as to which tour is successful."

Doyle believes Higgins will join up at TSN
Doyle believes Higgins will join up at TSN
World Snooker chiefs admitted on Tuesday that they were disappointed that negotiations had broken down.

"We couldn't agree to relinquish the Association's commercial rights," said their chairman Mark Wildman.

World Snooker will not ban players from participating on the TSN tour providing there is no conflict of interest, but it is unlikely Williams, Hendry, O'Sullivan and Ken Doherty will appear on the WS circuit.

Hendry is on record as saying he wants to play less snooker - and next season there could be a minimum of 19 events, although many are sure to overlap.

The Board of World Snooker says it plans a nine-tournament circuit for 2001-2002, carrying total prize money of 5.9m - an increase of 30% on the current campaign.

TSN plan a 10-tournament tour, including a large proportion overseas while taking responsibility for re-introducing a World Cup, last held in 1996.

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See also:

12 Jan 01 |  Other Sports
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