In what could pass for a stitch in time saves nine, Snooker legend Peter Ebdon has announced his retirement in order to avoid having to undergo surgery which could leave him paralysed for life.

Ebdon, who became world champion in 2002, enjoyed almost a 20 years of playing professional snooker, winning a total of nine ranking events.

However, the 49-year-old has called time on his career after being told by doctors that in order to correct a chronic neck injury, he would need spinal surgery that could leave him in a wheelchair.

Understandably, Ebdon has taken this as an opportunity to hang up his cue after raking in almost £3.5m in career earnings.

“I had an MRI scan about seven weeks ago, which picked up significant wear and tear in my neck. There is serious deterioration in some of the vertebrae and I have been in pain since Christmas.

“Two of the vertebrae need to be replaced, which is not an operation I want to have because if it went wrong I could be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

“It’s far too risky. The professor explained to me that it wouldn’t be a cure. It could work, but it could make things worse and I would probably need to have it again in 10 years.

“The one thing I can’t do if I don’t have the operation is play snooker again, because of the compression in my neck. So, as sad as it is for me, that’s the end.

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Ebdon’s last ranking event victory came at the 2012 China Open, while the last tournament The Force played in was the German Masters qualifiers in December, but he pulled out with injury.

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