Snooker’s top boss Barry Hearn has accused Anthony Hamilton of “poor form” regarding his withdrawal from the World Championship.
Hamilton, who qualified for the event for the first time in 12 years, earlier this week stated he was pulling out of snooker’s biggest competition for health reasons due to suffering from severe asthma.
The announcement was made on the eve of his first round match against world number 8 Kyren Wilson.
His decision dominated snooker debate throughout Thursday with some fans and those in the game supporting his decision but many others criticising his actions.
Fellow player Alfie Burden was one of those who supported Hamilton’s decision.
He said on Twitter: “Anthony Hamilton is the best guy I’ve met in snooker…. his decision not to play he wouldn’t of took lightly and would be solely down to him not feeling safe with his health problems… a shame but I respect my mates decision.”
However his tweet attracted a response from World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn who was more critical of Hamilton’s decision.
In a tweet Hearn said Hamilton had “robbed another pro of their chance” of playing at the Crucible Theatre.
The tweet said: “He (Hamilton) hasn’t just contracted asthma has he? Robbed another pro of their chance by playing in qualifiers.
“He hasn’t broken the rules but I think it’s poor form. The players he played in the qualifiers must be sick.”
In a statement Hamilton apologised to his opponents during the qualifying stages and said he had “every intention” of playing at the event.
He said: “I want to apologise to my opponents at the qualifiers, Sam Craigie and Scott Donaldson, and assure them that I had every intention of playing at the Crucible.
“But it was only after I finished the qualifying rounds that I was able to do a full personal risk assessment based on the latest information and discussions with WST.”
World Snooker Tour said Hamilton would be able to keep his prize money of £20,000 from the qualifiers and the respective ranking points.
Wilson will receive an automatic bye int the second round.