Judd Trump has blasted the “50 and 60-year-olds” running snooker – and insists the sport has lost its way.
The Juddernaut is the best player of his generation and reckons that World Snooker Tour are failing to attract the new younger audience he says is needed. In a wide-ranging rant world No3 Trump, 33, says there has been a slow-down in snooker’s development and also claims the overall age profile of tour pros is steadily rising.
But he was swiftly challenged by WPBSA players’ board chairman and former world champion Ken Doherty to make his demands clearer – and start getting involved rather than just complaining.
Trump, speaking on ITV4, said: “I don’t really feel like the tour has really improved over the past few years and maybe I am getting a bit too down about where the game is heading, maybe I should just concentrate on the event.
“Snooker can be a lot bigger than it is, and things aren’t progressing in the way that they should. Certain tournaments where I turn up I get excited and the Champion of Champions has always been one of them.
“I just feel there is no one around my age involved at the top of the game or behind the scenes, that has maybe seen what I have seen and knows how to appeal to the younger generation.
“A lot of the people at the top of the game are the same age, maybe late 50s or 60s and don’t know how to do that. So something is getting lost in snooker at the moment.
“The events run by Matchroom [as opposed to World Snooker Tour] are run by a younger crowd and maybe they appeal to me more and that’s why I feel more at home in those events.
“There are a lot of the events for the top players and if you stay in the top three or four in the world you get invites to tournaments not available to all.
“You see people moaning that there are not enough opportunities for players down the rankings and I see that. But I also feel some young players don’t work hard enough to warrant that.
“It has just been a bit of a slow-down in the growth of snooker over the last few years, and there needs to be more done to appeal to the crowd and encourage younger players.
“Every year the age of the players seems to be getting older and older. As you grow older you do struggle with some of the events, the set-ups and the venues chosen.
“There have been times when snooker looked to be moving forward to bigger and better venues, and then they pull it back to smaller venues again. That can be disappointing.
“Hopefully people can learn from the recent Hong Kong event and see how big snooker can be if it is run in the right way and make things worthwhile.”
Doherty and the players’ board hold regular ‘coffee break’ meetings on Zoom to discuss the sport’s important issues from a player’s perspective.
And the Irish legend was slightly surprised by Trump’s rant – given he has never joined one of these to air his grievances and raise ideas.
Doherty, 53, said: “I would like to see Judd come to some of our coffee mornings and even have a chat, and explain exactly what he would like to see.
“It’s okay saying there should be changes, but what are those changes that he would like to see. We would all like to see every event like the Champion of Champions, or the World Championships, or the Masters. That would be fantastic.
“There are things that can be improved not only at the front of the house but at the back of the house – people getting more involved, more families, entertainment, make it more of a festival.”