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Tonny Carlsen wants his money and respect from PBA

Posted by on July 20, 2021

Tonny Carlsen wants his money and respect from PBA

© PBA
Tonny Carlsen in better days: playing for PBA with a two-year contract

COPENHAGEN - The Danish billiard player Tonny Carlsen, who had a contract with Bravo & New (former business partner of Korean billiard organization PBA), considers to file a lawsuit against the PBA, because he is still owed a considerable sum of money since he left the PBA. The two parties have reached an impasse, because the Koreans do not want to pay Carlsen. The Danish player considers a legal case to force the PBA to pay the contractually agreed money. Carlsen, who has played for the PBA for just under two years from the start, wants to bring his story to the outside world and tell the truth about the PBA.

The Korean organization was founded two years ago in South Korea and convinced players to join their league, despite of the risk of sanctions from the UMB. It's not all gold that shines in the PBA, reveals the Danish player, who said in his own English words: 'not just flowers and fireworks in the PBA.' The PBA, Carlsen says, also shows another side. ''Now, players cannot be sure to be paid according to their contracts.''

The Danish player has not been able to show his high level in the PBA like in earlier years when playing for the UMB. ''When I made the decision to play in Korea, I was looking forward being part of a new organization. Unfortunately, due to my illness, I could not visualize the billiard balls properly and I could not find the right focus, so the good results did not come. I don't regret that I took the chance, but I hoped for more personal success.''

Tonny Carlsen is still suffering from the aftermath of two major operations. ''I still have lots of problems with spasm twitches from my left eye, which is going down to my cheek and down to my mouth. I went for a CT scan because of that. They found two large aneurysms in my head, which means it was lucky that I got the CT scanning. I had two operations, one in June and the second in August 2019. Both were successful and I am truly grateful and happy for that. The doctors told me that the aneurysms would have been bursting if I did not have the surgery. I am very happy that they found out.''

The PBA, the Korean pro organization, which had Bravo & New as its management agency when it started two years ago, has now entered its third year with a team competition. Tonny Carlsen, and other non Korean players like Robinson Morales, Jean Paul de Bruijn, Roberto Rojas, Pierre Soumagne, Allan Schröder, are no longer part of the organisation.

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: Why did Tonny Carlsen finally leave the PBA?

Tonny Carlsen: ''The reduced contract, I was offered is the main reason. But also, the question of when the quarantine issue will finally stop. I don't want to spend my time in a hotel room anymore, without my family. It is absolutely horrible! I became a grandfather last year to two wonderful girls, whom I love and miss.''

Kozoom/FB: Despite all that, do you think the PBA has so far made true on what they have said and promised: that players will have a much better future in the PBA with great financial earnings, with high bonuses and professional status for all players?
Tonny Carlsen: ''I can't say yes or no, that's still an open question, and it will remain so for a while. Corona is still here and everything is in a survival mode. I don't know how much the players earn in the PBA league, but now the third regular PBA year has started, probably with the same prize money as the first two years. Good prize money for the winner and the runner up, but from third place down it's more or less the same prize money as in UMB tournaments. Time will tell.''

Kozoom/FB: How was the atmosphere among the players, around and during the matches?
Tonny Carlsen: ''The atmosphere between the players is good, and relaxed outside the billiard room. During the match, everyone plays with a high level of concentration and with a winner's look in the eyes, which of course is okay.''

Kozoom/FB: When did things go wrong for you? I mean, when you told the PBA that you did not agree to the new contract? And is it right, after that, there was no more payment?
Tonny Carlsen: ''A person from PBA sent me a disrespectful WhatsApp message: 'We would like to offer you a new contract, but without any minimum guarantee, you have to give us a reply before tomorrow 12.00 p.m. Korean time, which is 05.00 a.m. Danish time. So I had about 14 hours to make such an important decision, which I find so lousy and disrespectful that I did not reply. I mean, I believed and trusted these people who want to take our beloved sport up to a new professional level by giving them my full support.''

''I didn't expect this way of communication,'' Carlsen continued. ''This is for me a lack of respect for us, the players, who support the PBA in this hard pandemic time. It is also not fair that PBA, tries to push the players to sign new worthless contracts. Don't forget that we are all suspended by the UMB and our federations.''

Tonny: ''The PBA cancelled a tournament in November 2020 and moved it to the end of December. Again, we had to spend two weeks in isolation (paid by ourselves), including Christmas week, which in Denmark and other countries is a special time of highlights and celebration with our families.''

Kozoom/FB: How did the annual contract, of which one third is unpaid now, look like for you? Is it right that apart from the tax you had to pay all the costs (hotel, travel, accommodation) yourself from your contract?
Tonny Carlsen: ''Yes, that is correct! I have a contract with a minimum guarantee that is paid out three times in one year, starting 30%, middle 40% and end 30%. Bravo & New, where I signed the contract, has not paid out the last 30% so far. And it has nothing to do with the new contract offer.''

Kozoom/FB: What is the procedure from now? How will you try to get your money?
Tonny Carlsen: ''Now the group of contract players is taking legal action against Bravo & New. Actually, I don't think it's right that we, as the players, must fight this battle. Don't forget that all the players have completed their contracts. I wonder, how long will this take, six months, one, two or three years, or more? We players signed a contract with Bravo & New, but in our contracts we are required to play the PBA tours. PBA had a contract with Bravo & New. Now Bravo & New cannot, or will not fulfil their obligations! I am convinced that the PBA has both the moral and legal obligation to solve this problem immediately. The legal construction does not matter in this case, because we can imagine, that no payment to the players, will mean that players will not participate in the PBA events in the future! If PBA is not reliable in its commitments, the PBA will not exist for a long time.''

PBA terminated its contract with Bravo & New at the end of October 2020 for reasons not disclosed. Tonny Carlsen: ''If the PBA wants to be seen as the big and serious billiard organizer worldwide, they must find a solution for the problem with Bravo & New or their new partner WOW management. And they must immediately start paying the contract players.''

Kozoom/FB: Why do you think more and more non-Korean players are disappearing from the PBA and no new players from Europe or America are coming in?
Tonny Carlsen: ''Maybe for the same reason as me, I'm not sure, but probably some don't want to take the risk for another year, waiting for higher prize money or better, or at least fair contracts that are actually fulfilled by PBA and its business partners.''

Kozoom/FB: What was your main reason for telling and bringing this out?
Tonny Carlsen: ''I am 56 years old now and I have been playing this wonderful game since I was 10 years old. I have many friends in the billiard world and I hope and believe that my friends also see me as a good friend and an honest person. So, instead of spreading rumours in the world of billiards, I am telling my story publicly to avoid misunderstandings. It's not only about money, but also about respect! I had two major operations in my head, and I appreciate every day that I am alive. When I wake up tomorrow morning and look at myself in the mirror, I will say, Tonny you made the right decision.''

Tonny Carlsen promised to come-back as soon as possible in the UMB events: ,,I'm waiting to recover from my physical situation, but after that, I will be back soon and I'm looking forward to play there again.''

Kozoom-interviewer Frits Bakker asked for a comment to the PBA president, but didn't receive an answer for the time being.

 

Tonny Carlsen in his PBA years: unforunately, I could not live up to my expectations

Tonny Carlsen in action for the PBA league

Tonny Carlsen will soon return to the UMB competition where he was one of the top guns in his younger years

 

 

 

 

 

 

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