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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Stevens dubs snooker a 'shambles'
Matthew Stevens
Stevens has lost in two World Championship finals
Welsh star Matthew Stevens has hit out at the state of world snooker just over a week before the start of the World Championship, which begins on 15 April.

"You can't really call playing snooker a job at the moment," he said.

"People talk about the world rankings but how can you judge people on only six tournaments a season? It's not like golf which has about 40 events a year.

"This season we've had tournaments in Malta and China but the prize money is terrible. It's a bit of a shambles."

Stevens, who lost last year's world final 18-16 to Shaun Murphy, described the ranking system as "a lottery" and said the loss of tobacco sponsorship had dealt the sport a major blow.

"I don't know how it can be sorted out. All us players can do is just keep potting balls," he said.

Murphy, 23, a 150-1 outsider when he set out on the road to becoming champion last year, saw the addition of online casino 888.com to the sponsorship ranks as a significant step forward.

"There are new sponsors coming in and we have great links with the BBC," said the Rotherham-based player.

"OK, the number of tournaments has been cut down due to a lack of funds, but all the ones we have now pay for themselves and don't owe anyone any money.

"The time is right for more good companies to get on board and if that happens then snooker will be very big again, like it was in the 1980s."

Murphy will open the defence of his title against Thailand's James Wattana at the Crucible in Sheffield on 15 April.

Stevens starts his quest to reach a third final - he has lost the previous two - when he takes on Northern Ireland's Joe Swail.




SEE ALSO
Champion Murphy to face Wattana
16 Mar 06 |  Snooker
Stevens pays tribute to champion
02 May 05 |  Snooker


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