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Watch: O’Sullivan open to offers from potential rival snooker tour

Ronnie O’Sullivan is open to offers from a potential rival snooker tour as the former world champion warned he would walk away from the sport if he felt under-valued.

O’Sullivan and other top players have reportedly been approached about the prospect of establishing a breakaway circuit as early as next season.

And O’Sullivan, who polished off a 10-1 win over Jackson Page in the first round of the World Championship in Sheffield on Thursday, insisted players were within their rights to consider any lucrative opportunities that came their way.

“Every player has the right to do what they want to do. Each sportsman is a business, whether you like it or not and it’s just like any other job – if you get a better offer, you’re going to go,” he said.

“What is a better offer? For some people it might be a reduced schedule, it might be more money. Everyone has a different idea of what is right for them and everyone has the right to make that decision for themselves.

“I’ll go wherever I’m looked after and wherever I feel like I’m valued. For me, I just want to play snooker, I want to have fun, I want to be looked after and pampered. Anyone who wants to pamper me and look after me, I’m your man.”

World Snooker Tour chiefs have relaxed rules on player contracts since a high-profile row in October, when five leading players were threatened with legal action after indicating they would skip the Northern Ireland Open in favour of a lucrative exhibition in Macau.

Players can compete in exhibitions provided they do not clash directly with World Snooker Tour (WST) events.

But the number of those tournaments is set to increase following WST’s potentially lucrative link-up with Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf State staged the inaugural World Masters of Snooker last month, complete with a prize for potting a golden ball which will double to one million US dollars (currently £800,500) next season. 

Saudi Arabia will also hold its first ranking event in Riyadh in August.

Those deals appeared to have placated O’Sullivan, but he maintained he would have no hesitation in moving on if he received more favourable opportunities.

“The bottom line is, you’ve got to be prepared to walk away. If I didn’t get what I want, am I prepared to walk away from the sport? The answer is yes,” he said.

“I’m happy with my life. I don’t need the financial rewards that snooker has offered me. I’m playing because I want to play but I have a value.”

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