Mark Allen slams 'shocking' decision to allow Jimmy White onto pro snooker tour circuit aged 60 for not 'earning spot'

MARK ALLEN blasted the 'shocking' decision to hand Jimmy White a place on the pro snooker circuit at the age of 60.

The Whirlwind has been offered an invitational tour card for the next two seasons on the World Snooker Tour, due to his 'outstanding contribution to the sport'.

The snooker legend first received an invitational tour card in 2017 but this has been extended until 2023 and means he does not have to attend qualifying school next month.

White is set to join Stephen Hendry, Marco Fu and Ken Doherty as the four invitational tour card holders in the 2021-22 season.

But Allen, the world No13, said: “No doubt I’ll face backlash again for saying this but the announcement of the Jimmy White wildcard is shocking. 

“Nothing against Jimmy personally but some awful decisions being made right now by World Snooker Tour.

“I don’t agree with wildcards full stop. Everyone should earn their spots in my opinion. Marco Fu is a whole different story as Covid has prevented him from competing this season."

Londoner White, 59 next month, was booted off the Tour following defeat to Scotsman Hendry in the first qualifying round of the Betfred World Snooker Championship last week.

After that loss in Sheffield, White was left raging at his 'horrendous' and 'demoralising' performance — blaming himself for over-practicing.

White turned pro in 1980 and reached six world snooker finals at the Crucible — losing to Hendry in four of them in the 1990s.

Snooker supremo Barry Hearn said: “Jimmy is one of snooker’s greats. Not only in terms of his achievements but also his massive worldwide popularity.

“He has just done so much to promote snooker through his playing style and charisma and we had no hesitation in offering him a tour card for two seasons.”

Meanwhile Jamie Jones, banned for a year following a match-fixing probe, is  one win away from reaching the Crucible in his comeback season.

The Welshman, 33, denied any wrongdoing in 2019 but was punished for failing to report a corrupt approach. 

Jones beat Michael Holt 6-3 and faces China’s Li Hang in the last qualifying round. He said: “I had some very dark days in the last few years — but that is driving me.” 

Graeme Dott beat Eden Sharav 6-3 and plays China’s Tian Pengfei.

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