Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Snooker league 'should suspend men-only clubs' in Kirklees

Rebecca Kenna Image copyright Matt Huart
Image caption Rebecca Kenna is ranked third in the World Women's Snooker rankings

A snooker league criticised for failing to tackle sexism has introduced new rules - with the changes branded "totally unacceptable" by critics.

Amateur player Rebecca Kenna quit the Crosshills and District Snooker League after she was stopped from playing at two men-only clubs.

It has since brought in a new rule which allows clubs to choose a "neutral venue" rather than admit women.

Snooker's governing bodies and MPs branded the new rule "a workaround".

The two clubs, The Grafton Club and The Cycling Club in Keighley, West Yorkshire, operate a men-only policy.

On 7 August, league bosses introduced the new rule ordering clubs to allow women to play on the premises or find a "neutral club" open to all.

If they refuse, the offending club has to forfeit snooker points.

The league said this reinforced its stance of supporting any player to participate, but it could not change individual club rules.

Both the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) and World Women's Snooker (WWS) said they encouraged independent leagues to suspend clubs that "continue to adopt antiquated and discriminatory practices".

In a statement, the WWS said snooker was "one of the few sports that can place men and women on the same field of play on a truly equal basis.

"So in the 21st Century it is totally unacceptable to expect women players to be treated differently and having to play sterile matches at a neutral venue purely because of their gender."

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The All-Party Parliamentary Snooker Group said the rule change was "in effect, a workaround to enable the clubs in question to continue their archaic practices".

It said it was made aware of the "obvious error" earlier this year and had believed it would be sorted out.

"However, as that does not seem to be the case, we shall now be writing - very candidly - to the clubs and to the league," it added.

The Grafton Club's spokesman was unavailable for comment while the Cycling Club could not be reached for comment.

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The league said it could not change individual club rules

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