• Snooker star Anthony Hamilton labelled selfish by defending champion Judd Trump and criticised by snooker chief Barry Hearn after pulling out of World Championship – due to spectators presence amid COVID-19

By Andrew Atkinson

Snooker star Anthony Hamilton has been labelled as selfish by defending champion Judd Trump – and criticised by snooker chief Barry Hearn – after pulling out of the World Snooker Championship, due to spectators being present at the Crucible in Sheffield, amid COVID-19.

Hamilton, 49, who suffers from asthma, described the decision to let fans back in as ridiculous and warned it could lead to a person dying for no reason at all.

I find it very hard on the other people that he has taken the opportunity from. Before the qualifying started, he should have just pulled out completely and given someone else a chance.

“He will have known in the back of his head that he wasn’t playing in this event so he had no pressure compared to some of the other players.

“It is completely unfair and I don’t think any player should be that selfish to do that. There is a lot of money to be played for in this tournament.

“A lot of the low ranked players struggle to put food on the table and especially with things going on, you’ve got to try and earn a living,” said Trump.

Snooker star Anthony Hamilton

World Snooker chairman Hearn has criticised Hamilton following his decision: “Anthony Hamilton withdrew – having gone through the qualifying competition.

“He decided he’s going to withdraw because he’s got asthma and he is worried about his own health.

“The question I pose is why did he not withdraw before the qualifying competition? Because by getting through the qualifiers he has effectively stopped someone else from going and earning a living.

“He entered a competition knowing that while he was in that competition that there was going to be fans present. He knew the situation.

“He hasn’t had asthma which started yesterday (July 29). He’s had asthma and health issues for some time.”

The World Snooker Championship has been selected as a Government test event for the safe return of spectators.

It will be the first indoor sporting event with fans since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, with five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan saying snooker players are being treated like ‘lab rats’.