Raging Matthew Selt slammed World Snooker Tour’s ‘disgusting’ ranking system and says a radical overhaul is needed to make the game fairer, writes Will Jennings.
The Romford ace went down 10-3 against world No.11 Barry Hawkins in the first round of the World Championship after qualifying for the Crucible for the first time since 2015.
The world’s top 16-ranked players all automatically book their place in the annual showpiece while everyone else on tour has to navigate their way through a gruelling qualifying system.
Selt, the world No.32, blasted snooker bosses and reckons drastic change is needed to level the potting playing field.
The angry 36-year-old fumed: “Qualifying is a different animal. If everyone started off from round one, half the top 16 wouldn’t get here, simple as that.
“They have earned their position but I do think the seeding for this tournament is very unfair. There are people who are 50 or 60 on the one-year list that are coming here because they’re in the top 16 from events two years ago, playing a first round match where they’re a heavy favourite to earn 30,000 ranking points.
“To put it into perspective, I got to the semi-finals of the Gibraltar [Open], won five matches and got 6,000 points, which is absolutely disgusting.
“The top eight will always be the top eight because they are prolific winners, but there are some top 16 players that are lucky to still be in there. They come here and they are in a great position – they don’t have to get through qualifying.
“I don’t normally moan or say anything untoward because I’m trying to grow up, but it’s a great event if you’re seeded.
“We are very lucky to be a sport that has carried on through the pandemic. World Snooker Tour have done a fantastic job in getting events on – there are just little niggles about how stuff is run. It’s not just me saying it, there are high up players who feel the same way.”
Selt was crowned 2019 Indian Open champion and has enjoyed a consistent – if not spectacular – season on the behind closed doors circuit.
He’s won his first round match at nearly every competition and reached the last four of the Gibraltar Open in Milton Keynes last month.
Selt was unable to find any signs of his usual fluency against 2013 Crucible finalist Hawkins, however, making no breaks of note as the three-time ranking event winner cracked in efforts of 137 and 126.
The Essex player did not hide from showing his true feelings after the heavy defeat and his criticism follows remarks made by world No.1 Judd Trump about snooker’s lack of profile.
Trump, the 2019 world champion, believes snooker is ‘stuck in the past’ and called on bosses to implement major change to enhance the sport’s dwindling visibility.
Selt hailed the planet’s best player and says if World Snooker Tour can’t listen to the likes of Trump – and 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy – then the game is up.
“People high up in the game have very good stuff to say in the sport – Judd in particular,” he added.
“It’s great to have people willing to say controversial things and if he can’t be listened to, no-one can.
“Then you have Shaun Murphy, the best possible ambassador for the game, he has a lot to say and gives a lot of good feedback. I wouldn’t say [World Snooker Tour] don’t listen, but it feels like ‘this is what it is, take it or leave it’.
“There’s a lot of good things the players want to say and it feels like you’re a schoolkid. [World Snooker Tour] are doing a fantastic job, but there are some things the players come up with and it feels like they are the teachers.
“Every credit to Judd for saying what he’s saying. He has a lot of friends in different sports and he feels in a position to say what he thinks will help the game get bigger.
“Barry [Hearn] has done a fantastic job and we owe him quite a bit for taking over in 2010. Now is the time to listen to Judd and Murphy.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3