SNOOKER officials are braced for a flood of appeals after a total of 13 fines were issued for non-attendance at the PR welcome ceremony at China’s March Asian Tour event in Dongguan.

Financial sanctions for failing to appear at these promotional functions considered important to keep the promoters happy are an established if unpopular reality of tour life.

However the large number of transgressors at the AT4 event won by Stuart Bingham may have been increased by the omission of an exact ceremony time on March 3rd in the January 29 entry pack issued to players.

The time of 5pm on March 3rd was later supplied in a second communication sent out to players on the evening of February 26, many not seeing it until February 27th, just days before most were due to fly out to China.

But many have claimed that this afforded no chance of re-booking or changing flights without incurring penalties greater than the possible fine.

Several of the players involved, who have picked up fines of in some cases £500, missed the ceremony by a couple of hours.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has made it clear that he expects players to be organised and take responsibility for their own travel and visa duties.

The question in this instance though, with two appeals already in and more expected, is whether the full information required arrived too late for players to reasonably react.

Simon Brownell, charged with administering the World Snooker fines, admitted that though 12 players had made it 13 had not and been fined, with at least two appeals pending and more anticipated.

But he also conceded that meetings had taken place between aggrieved players and WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson on Monday in Haikou.

And Brownell, stressing the purpose such ceremonies fulfil in China and elsewhere, also emphasised that appeals would be heard on their own merits, with the association not wishing to penalise players unfairly but wanting to maintain consistency.


Photographs by Monique Limbos