World Snooker has been informed that Ronnie O'Sullivan does not intend to compete on the World Snooker Tour for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "I have spoken to Ronnie and he has decided to withdraw from any events he has entered, and he will not be playing for the rest of this season. He has some personal issues which he needs to resolve and we wish him all the best for the future."
Ronnie O'Sullivan last night signed the WSL Players Contract and entered both the International Championship to be held in Chengdu, China and the UK Championship in York scheduled for December.
Ronnie O'Sullivan said: "I have taken the six month sabbatical I said I would and I am now looking forward to competing over the rest of this season. I am happy to be back in snooker and seeing all my fans soon!"
Barry Hearn, Chairman of World Snooker Limited, said: "I met with Ronnie last night and following our discussion he has signed the WSL Players Contract. We are obviously very pleased that Ronnie has decided to come back to snooker, the sport he loves. This is great news for his many fans around the World. We welcome him back with open arms."
Ronnie O’Sullivan has decided to make good on his desire to take some time off from competitive snooker. He said today:
“I have decided not to enter any tournaments for the time being including this year’s Premier League and forthcoming WPBSA ranking events.
“I have not signed the player’s contract as I feel the contract is too onerous and am in a stage of my career where I don’t wish to make this commitment.
“I still want to play snooker and visit those places around the world such as China where snooker is enthusiastically received and adored.
“I hope to remain involved in the sport in some way in the future.”
Following yesterday's news about Ronnie O'Sullivan, I'd like to clarify the WPBSA's position in relation to the official players' contract and end the misconception that players are being 'forced' into playing certain events.
The contract is there to protect the players' income derived from the tour, and the sport as a whole. Once players have signed the contract they are free to choose which events they wish to play in.
The contract was sent to the players by World Snooker following an extensive consultation process with the WPBSA in which we engaged our lawyers. It is the WPBSA's duty to ensure that all of the players are treated equally and therefore it is our belief that all players should sign the same contract. We do not believe it would be in the interest of the membership as a whole if one player was allowed a different contract which could give that player additional appearance money. The World Snooker Tour is expanding rapidly and consistently on a global basis and it is set to grow further. We are looking for the support of the players as a whole in order to assist this growth.
Ronnie O'Sullivan of course is free to sign the contract at any time during the season which would make him eligible to play in World Snooker events, but it is important to note that signing the players' contract does not in itself compel any player to enter any World Snooker tournaments.