Neil Robertson withdraws from Championship League snooker as he says sorry after 'mishap'

2024 World Championship Qualifiers - Day 8
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))

Neil Robertson has pulled out of stage two of the Championship League snooker tournament due to a "mishap" in China.

He was scheduled to play on Saturday, with Ali Carter, Jack Lisowski and Wu Yize as his group opponents. Earlier this year, despite a 2-2 draw in his opening game against Zack Richardson, Robertson managed to progress through the first stage.

The 2010 world champion then secured victories over Kai Wai Cheung and Jamie Jones, earning his spot in the last-16 at Leicester Arena. However, just a day before he was set to continue his campaign, Robertson took to social media to explain his predicament to his fans. He apologised for the situation, attributing it to a scheduling error. "Hey guys," he posted on X. "Just to let you know I unfortunately had to withdraw from the Championship League due to a mishap in stage two of the schedule.

"I'm currently in China for a trip with sponsors that was planned in April and won't be able to play as I arrive back in the UK on the day I was due to play. I've received an apology about the situation. I'm sorry to those who were looking forward to watching me play, thank you for continued support."

The organisers have since confirmed that Robertson will not be replaced in the tournament. They announced: "Neil Robertson has withdrawn from the BetVictor Championship League Snooker. Tomorrow's Group E will now proceed with three players."

Robertson has missed the opportunity to kick off his 2024/25 campaign on a high note. He was left stunned in May after failing to qualify for the World Championship in Sheffield for the first time since 2004. This withdrawal is another significant setback for tournament organisers and fans alike. The event's star power has already been diminished by a below-par Ronnie O'Sullivan being knocked out at the first stage.

Another snooker legend, John Higgins, has also failed to advance. Former world champions Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy, however, are still in the competition. The winners of the eight groups will progress to the third stage, which kicks off next Wednesday. Those remaining will be divided into two more groups of four, with the winners of each facing off in the final.