Mark Allen explains why he aims to ‘stand up’ to World Snooker Tour as top players snub Northern…

Mark Allen is determined to challenge the World Snooker Tour as prominent players opt out of the Northern Ireland Open. A division within the snooker world seems to be unfolding, as five players have declared their intention to skip the upcoming Northern Ireland Open in favor of participating in an exhibition event in Macau.

Mark Allen has voiced his support for players on the World Snooker Tour who desire more autonomy in choosing their tournament schedules, arguing that their existing contracts are overly restrictive.

This controversy has arisen in response to the group of players, including world champion Luca Brecel, John Higgins, and Mark Selby, deciding to forego the Belfast tournament to accept lucrative offers in the Far East. The World Snooker Tour claims that such a move would constitute a breach of their player contracts.

An agreement was eventually reached to reschedule the Macau exhibition, but the five players, which also include Ali Carter and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, still opted not to participate in the Northern Ireland Open.

“I firmly support the players’ stance on this matter,” said Mark Allen, who holds the fourth position in the world rankings, in an interview with BBC Sport NI. He pointed out that, while the contract might technically be in favor of the World Snooker Tour, it doesn’t necessarily make the contract fair. Allen believes that it’s essential for the players to assert themselves and renegotiate this restrictive contract.

In other developments, Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland Open due to medical reasons, while Ken Doherty, a player from Dublin, will be competing after defeating Liam Highfield 4-3 in a qualification match on Wednesday.

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