Ali Carter Advocates for Financial Reforms in Snooker and Contemplates Career Shift to Aviation

Professional snooker player Ali Carter has expressed concern about the inadequate financial support available for top players in the sport this year. He revealed considering leaving snooker to pursue a career in aviation due to the financial challenges. Carter, a two-time World Snooker Championship finalist, highlighted that a significant portion of tour players are struggling financially and called for increased investment in snooker.

Earlier this year, Carter shed light on the limited financial stability for snooker players, even after the introduction of a ‘safety net’ by the World Snooker Tour aimed at supporting the top 130 players in the 2022/23 season. The tour guaranteed £20,000 to players to assist in funding their careers and covering expenses. However, Carter emphasized the necessity for further efforts to improve the financial situation.

“It has been an incredibly challenging time. I would estimate that around 90 percent of the players on the tour are facing financial difficulties,” Carter revealed during an interview with the BBC’s Framed Podcast a few months ago. “I believe the structure of the tour needs a reevaluation, ensuring that when players attain their tour card, they are guaranteed a sustainable and decent income.”

He continued, “Many of them are barely making ends meet, earning around 20 to 30 thousand pounds a year after accounting for expenses, sometimes even less. This amount is comparable to what one might earn stacking shelves at a supermarket—not to undermine anyone in that profession. These players have devoted their lives to snooker from a very young age, and it seems a bit unfair to me, that’s all.”

In response to concerns raised by players like Carter, the World Snooker Tour (WST) has emphasized their commitment to supporting top players. They released a statement emphasizing a meritocratic approach and acknowledging the diverse talent pool within the tour. The WST initiated a prize money guarantee to provide financial security to all tour players, ensuring a minimum of £20,000 throughout the season, allowing players to plan their seasons more effectively.

Carter, who contemplated leaving snooker twice to pursue a career as a pilot, reiterated the need to enhance rewards for being a top snooker player. Reflecting on his conversations about leaving the sport, he disclosed, “I seriously contemplated quitting snooker. I had discussions with my close friend Mike Rowland, who owns the Andrewsfield Flying School. I expressed my frustrations with the defeats and the toll it was taking on me.”

“He encouraged me to reconsider, acknowledging my prowess on the snooker table and the potential to still achieve success and financial stability within the sport. His advice made me reevaluate my decision, emphasizing that transitioning to a new career in aviation at my age would be starting from scratch. He urged me to maximize my potential in snooker, assuring that I had untapped capabilities to succeed at a higher level,” Carter shared, reflecting on the pivotal advice that persuaded him to persevere in his snooker career.

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