Tag: snooker

Snookered
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Snookered

So Australia has a brand spanking new world champion. A world snooker champion no less and a lad destined to earn a lucrative living from his sport. Neil Robertson is a far cry from the waistcoated, bespectacled sepia characters of smoke filled snooker halls. Sure he wore a waistcoat (his was borrowed due to a now solved cash flow crisis) but the champions of old would never have sported the sort of haircuts, spoken the same way nor possessed the boyish good looks of the new guard. But there in all the photos is a garish logo on his right breast – the must have accoutrement for any sportsperson alongside the fast car and the glamorous WAG. His logo belongs to a betting agency Betfred. So what? Betting isn’t illegal.  All true but a day or so earlier his fellow snooker player and world number one, John Higgins was up to his neck a bribery controversy that if proven will destroy the sport. Many sports, clubs, teams and individuals have been seduced by the gambling dollar – in the EPl 6 of the top 20 clubs now have their shirts emblazoned with a betting agency sponsor!  In Australia the major sports have arrangements with betting organizations, some clubs are sponsored by them and the Melbourne Storm imbroglio had a gambling link through the wooden spoon market. Snooker is one of those sports that is on the edge. As an individual sport it is surely in the sights of many an illegal gambler and shifty betting syndicate and is hardly helped by the seedy image of it and its near cousin pool. But it’s not just snooker that will feel the ire of nannying self interest groups and over lobbied governments. Tobacco sponsorship was the first sugar daddy cut from the team and is now globally legislated out of the sponsorship of sport. Alcohol is feeling the heat and is already outlawed as a sponsor of sport in France. Gambling will be next.

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