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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ben Parsons

Snooker "dying in front of our eyes" as Stephen Maguire slams sport's under-fire 'suits'

Furious Stephen Maguire insists 'snooker is dying before our eyes' as he launched a blistering attack on the sport's failing bosses.

Snooker is still reeling from the match fixing probe that has seen 10 Chinese players charged in the biggest corruption scandal in its history. The sport is engulfed in a crisis and the cancellation of the Turkish Masters dealt a fresh blow to under-fire chiefs this week.

Former UK champion Maguire is angry over false promises with the event in Antalaya - which proved a huge hit in its inaugural staging last year - scrapped due to funding issues.

Players will be relieved that the event has since been replaced with the less-glamorous WST Classic in Leicester, meaning they can at least still compete for a prize money instead of facing a frustrating lull in the season.

But Maguire is convinced snooker bosses are not doing their jobs properly and believes decision-makers should start being held accountable for the worrying state of the tour.

"It’s dying, the game’s dying right in front of us," Maguire said in a candid interview with "I spoke to the suits at the start of the season and they promised me there’d be tournaments on.

"Turkey was always a question mark and it’s turned out to be cancelled, so the suits aren’t doing their job, which isn’t good for the players. They all gave me the same answer: we’ll look after you, the tournaments will be there, don’t worry.

"The tournaments aren’t there, so there’s something wrong at the top of the game. It’s worrying for players. It’s not good enough for most of the tour. I’ve either been lied to that things will be ok, or they’ve just not been able to fulfil it. Something’s wrong."

Maguire believes the tour is unsustainable (Getty Images)

He added: "They’re cutting tournaments. There’s supposed to be contracts out there. Turkey was a five-year deal, Saudi was 10 years and they just cut them like that.

"They have to do something, there’s something wrong. If somebody doesn’t do their job, in any walk of life, they get their ass kicked or they get the sack."

Downbeat Maguire does not see a bright future for snooker without drastic changes being made to the structure of the tour. And the fiery Scot claimed that players ranked inside the world's top 30 have even considered getting jobs to supplement their income in a damning revelation.

"Am I going to tell my kid, or anyone tell their kid, to play snooker because it’s a good living? Is it a good living? Of course it’s not," he said. "We’ve put loads into the game, 30 years of my life, I love the game. But we’re not getting any help at all here."

Mark Allen has earned over £500,000 during an incredible season but most players are struggling to make their way (Getty Images)

Maguire continued: "There’s people out there ranked 28-29 in the world, looking at getting jobs. People from the outside think, 'what a life you’ve got.' How can you be 20-odd in the world of supposedly a global sport, looking at getting a job, something’s wrong. The game’s dying, there’s no other headline."

And the passionate 41-year-old, who has competed in this week's divisive Snooker Shoot Out ranking event, has proposed one solution to the sport's concerning predicament.

‘I’d cut the tour," he added. "Snooker is not big enough and I’ve said it for years, its not big enough to sustain 128 players. There isn’t 128 players out there who can play on the main tour. That might sound horrible, but there isn’t."

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