Ronnie O’Sullivan criticised over Saudi deal

Ronnie O'Sullivan Saudia Arabia's new 'snooker ambassador'

Saudi 'Snooker ambassador', Ronnie O'Sullivan. Credit: Turki_alalshikh/X

Snooker fans have criticised Ronnie O’Sullivan’s decision, accusing him of compromising his integrity following his three-year contract with Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia held its debut snooker event with O’Sullivan clinching victory at the World Masters of Snooker. This newly formed agreement, announced on April 16, integrates the Riyadh Season as an official collaborator of the World Championships.

Saudi Arabia’s Chairman of the General Entertainment authority, Turki Alalshikh announced on Twitter/X: ‘An official partnership between Riyadh Season and the World Snooker Tour aimed at promoting the sport of snooker in the Kingdom, with the world’s number one ranked player, Ronnie O’Sullivan, serving as the ambassador of the game in Saudi Arabia.’

Expansion and controversy

With the Crucible Theatre’s contract due to expire in 2027, this new partnership opens up discussions about the future venue for the World Snooker Championships.

O’Sullivan has pledged to participate in both the World Masters of Snooker and the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters throughout the contract’s duration.

Speaking of the tournament in Riyadh last month the 48-year-old snooker legend expressed his thanks: ‘What a night!! Thank you to the organisers [at] RiyadhSeason, to Turki Alalshikh, and also the amazing support and love I’ve received out here from all the fans,’ O’Sullivan stated on his Twitter/X platform.

Fan backlash

However, according to GB News, the snooker star’s involvement has not been well-received by some supporters in the UK. On social media, one user expressed disappointment, calling him ‘sell out O’Sullivan.’

Others voiced their disapproval with comments like ‘Everyone involved should be ashamed’ and ‘You are going to destroy this beautiful sport.’ The discontent underscores a broader unease about the sport’s direction under new influences.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is set to commence his World Championship campaign this week, aiming for a record eighth title. The draw, on Thursday April 18, may place him against former champions such as Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham in the early rounds.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.