SNOOKER: WPBSA turn to Middleton

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The Independent Online
SNOOKER

WPBSA turn to Middleton

Peter Middleton, 59, an erstwhile monk who embarked on a glittering City career which has encompassed the chief executive roles at Lloyds of London and Salomon Brothers International, is on Tuesday to become the part-time chief executive officer of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, writes Clive Everton. Snooker's governing body has been without a chief executive since Jim McKenzie was dismissed after five months in December 1997. McKenzie successfully sued for breach of contract and libel after Rex Williams, the WPBSA's chairman, tried to justify his dismissal. Civil war has been raging for 18 months as Williams and his associates have run the association on a hands-on basis. Thailand, a prime overseas market, stated it would not stage world-ranking events as long as the Williams regime remained in power and the International Billiards and Snooker Federation, the 60-strong assembly of national associations, cut itself adrift, thus foregoing WPBSA's pounds 30,000 annual subsidy. A week ago Williams was reconfirmed in the chair by a 4-3 margin after his vice- chairman, the former world champion Ray Reardon, had unexpectedly stood against him. Snooker's leading manager, Ian Doyle, a critic of the current establishment, welcomed the appointment: "Someone of his track record will quickly see that the WPBSA's management structure needs a total overhaul."

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