DING JUNHUI has been fined £5,000 for breaching his World Snooker contract.
The fine was levied after Ding failed to attend the annual World Snooker awards dinner in London earlier this month. Inside Snooker was originally told he had been fined £1,000 per ranking tournament won last season but further information suggests it may be part of a series of contract breaches. We removed our original story, posted last night, in order to investigate further.
One rule infringement results in a fine of £250, the second one of £500, the third of £1,000 and the fourth of £5,000. So if Ding had three strikes against his name then missing the dinner would have triggered the automatic £5,000 penalty.
We contacted World Snooker for a response but the governing body has been unable to confirm the reasons for the fine.
Rules are rules, although sometimes a little discretion doesn’t hurt. Ding lost in the first round of the World Championship and few would surely begrudge him a trip back to his native China.
The counter argument to this is that all players should be treated the same under the rules of the contracts they have signed.
Even so, though World Snooker/WPBSA are right to point to their more professional set-up compared to the bad old days, many players feel they are deaf to legitimate concerns, with fines levied left, right and centre.
This is all good news for Bluebell Wood Hospice, World Snooker’s official charity and a worthy cause to whom the money goes, but it has created an atmosphere where players feel stifled and, at times, hard done by.
Mark Williams was fined £4,000 two years ago for tweeting a derogatory remark – which he believed to be humorous – about the Crucible. This figure seemed to be arbitrary.
Players have also been fined for not attending opening ceremonies of Chinese events, even if the logistics of a packed schedule have made this difficult.
Yes, players should adhere to the rules and show respect for their sport, but sometimes common sense should also come into play.
More importantly, there needs to be transparency in the disciplinary process. If Ding, or any other player, has been fined then there is no reason to throw a veil of secrecy around it.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.