Three-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he is being “blackmailed” by the game’s governing body, saying they are “raping” him by making ranking points available for smaller tournaments.
Earlier this month, the outspoken 35-year-old won the seventh in a series of 12 Players Tour Championship (PTC) events being staged by World Snooker in a bid to address previous claims from players that there were not enough tournaments.
Valuable ranking points have been tagged to the events, and the ‘Rocket’ won the most recent of them in Gloucester, picking up a prize of £10,000 in the process, and he sits top of the Order of Merit having also tasted victory in the first PTC in Sheffield.
As one of the richer players on the professional circuit — O’Sullivan’s career earnings top £6million — a minimal prize makes little difference, while he insists there are players lower down the ladder who are losing money by taking part in the tournaments, the next of which is in Killarney this weekend.
“I feel like I’m being raped when I’m playing in them,” O’Sullivan, a five-time world number one but currently ranked 12, said.
“I feel I’m being blackmailed. They put these ranking events on and ranking points at these tournaments and it just feels like the winner’s prize is not great, the loser’s prize... most players are going there and losing money, but they’re putting ranking points on so it’s forcing the players to play in it, which is not great, but what do you do? You have to go.
“The lower-ranked players can’t afford it and the top-ranked players don’t really get rewarded for what they do, so no-one is a winner. But I have to play in them, there’s not a lot you can do. But I don’t agree with them.”
The ranking points on offer have proved to be especially vital for O’Sullivan, though, who had been in danger of slipping outside the game’s elite top 16 until his |4-2 win over Matthew Stevens in Gloucester.
World Snooker were not available for comment.