Snooker star Reanne Evans speaks out on the game's gender pay gap ahead of Champions match against Shaun Murphy
Reanne Evans has spoken out about the gender pay gap in snooker ahead of a rare male v female contest against Shaun Murphy this afternoon.
Evans will be taking part in the Champion of Champions tournament where - if things go well - she could get to play Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semis.
Evans has won 12 world titles, more than any male snooker player, but is paid significantly less than her male counterparts.
When Evans became the most successful female snooker player in history winning the world championship in 2012 she received just £450. Ronnie O'Sullivan won the male equivalent competition and bagged himself £250,000.
Evans, who will collect £12,500 even if she loses at the Champions tournament, says "it's frustrating" to be at the top of her sport and barely earning.
“All our expenses come out of our prize money – so you are barely earning a living and yet they want you to perform. It’s catch-22. I’m not saying we should be millionaires but I think you should be earning a living if you are at the top of your sport. It’s frustrating but then I think that if I pack in that will discourage others and we will never get anywhere.”
The pay gap isn't the only thing that has separated men and women in the sport.
Evans said: “Growing up, playing in clubs with my brothers, I have been hardened to the comments – it just goes over my head.
“It’s rare now but there are still a few [snooker] places who don’t allow women. I just think, ‘Shame on you, let me play, I’ll beat you and then I’ll leave’.
“It can be intimidating being a female, walking into a place and picking up a cue. You do get stares, looks and comments. Social media you are going to get it. That’s why I do feel sorry for some of the girls. My advice? Do what you want. If you want to play then play. Let them get on with their sad lives and we will carry on,” she told The Telegraph.
Although respect isn't shown to Evans through her pay check, male snooker players have been supportive of the 34-year-old. O'Sullivan, in particular, has been there for her.
She said: “Ronnie has been really supportive. He tells me not to give up. He says, ‘You are the best, make the most of your opportunities but do have back-ups as well’.”
Evans and Murphy are playing at 3pm this afternoon on ITV4.