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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Snooker stung by new problem
Paul Hunter was in last year's World Championship final
Snooker is faced with a serious problem
Snooker is facing crisis after the sport's governing body ended ties with its commercial arm.

"We have terminated our current contract with World Snooker Enterprises owing to their inability to perform under the terms of the contract," read a statement issued by governing body, the WPBSA.

"A letter has gone out to members advising them of our reasons for taking this action."

With the season due to begin in October, the sport is still without sponsorship for the Masters and the Welsh, Scottish and British Opens following the end of tobacco sponsorship.

It is also believed there will be 20% reduction in the prize fund for the World Championship, while no venues have yet been named for the European and Scottish Opens.

When WSE were brought in at the end of 2002 after winning the vote to take charge of the commercial side of snooker, they kept their promise to stage eight world ranking tournaments and one invitational event for the 2002/2003 season.

Even though the total prize fund of 5.24m fell a little short of what was hoped for, the future looked bright for the sport.

But their inability to find new sponsors for the three events coupled with plans to reduce the professional tour from 128 to 80 players and withdrawal of financial support from the women's game proved to be the final straw for the WPBSA.

Snooker manager Ian Doyle, who was opposed to the appointment of WSE, fears for the future of the sport.

"I don't think the WPBSA ever got to grips with the commercial side of the game," he told this website.

"I don't know where the WPBSA board are going to be find the money needed to get them out of this hole. I despair for the game at this current time."

UK Championship finds new sponsor
11 Jul 03  |  Snooker
Women's game under threat
10 Jul 03  |  Snooker
Welsh Open changes venue
10 Jul 03  |  Snooker

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