I was aware of the situation Shaun Murphy had been faced with, following the tragic loss of his former manager and close friend Brandon Parker. My heart sank when I read a recent blog post by an apparent snooker fan. As someone who didn’t know the facts, I found it disrespectful to publish an opinion piece whilst making no attempt to verify any of their claims. Attending the cremation in Portugal was never in question for Shaun, and all correspondence issued by World Snooker Tour based on current government stipulations indicated he was free to do so.
For those of you that aren’t aware, there have been exemptions agreed upon by sporting bodies with the government for elite members of sport specifically (but not limited to) facilitating ease of travel for them when putting on events such as the World Championship, Tour Championship & Championship League. Without these exemptions, these events would not be able to be put on at all. Each event has been extremely well managed by WST & the health advice they have followed stringently in these unexpected pandemic times has resulted in absolute success with their isolating and testing system.
At first glance it can look like rules are being flouted when actually there are a lot of carefully weighed up decision making ensuring any travel is done as safely as possible. It’s why Luca Brecel was able to travel back home to Belgium during the Championship League between matches, and it’s why Shaun Murphy was able to attend a small cremation in a remote area for a loved one.
Every event put on so far by WST has been so successful BECAUSE of adherence to stipulations set by the government. It’s why they have been allowed to pilot an event with a crowd this coming Friday for the first time since lockdown began. The events put on are required to develop plans, which include:
● an appropriate testing regime
● a clear statement on minimising or eliminating any unavoidable encroachment of social distancing within the event environment
● restricting movement to designated accommodation, training and competition sites
● and contact only with other accredited event participants unless for other exceptional reasons such as medical need or legal requirements
With all four of the above criteria being met for this event, Shaun will be competing in it and he is absolutely allowed to do so. The players and WST are doing everything the government is suggesting that it needs to, to remain safe for everyone on tour, those working behind the cameras, and any spectators that decide to attend in person. There’s nothing wrong with asking the questions as the answers are there. What is wrong is singling out one player as a biological threat when the only place Shaun will be threatening players… is on the table.