Wednesday 24 May 2017

Snooker: Hearn and Allen bury hatchet after 'frank' chat

SNOOKER

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn believes he has won over Mark Allen after a "frank and friendly" discussion with the UK Championship runner-up, who called for him to quit at the end of last year.

The Antrim native caused huge controversy last month when he made a withering attack on Hearn and called for him to resign.

But Hearn said yesterday: "We had a good meeting and the chat we had was good at opening his mind as to where he wants to be.

"Does he want to be a superstar in an ever-expanding global sport, or does he want to go back to billiard halls and snooker parlours and eke out a living?"

Last month, Hearn termed Allen (pictured below) a "silly little boy" and hinted at legal action following the player's comments, when he also said "the whole tradition of the game is going to pot".

But Hearn added: "There was never going to be any legal action -- I don't sue people, I'm much too busy to spend my time with lawyers.

"What I'm doing may not suit everybody, that's not my concern. My concern is the game in general and where we are going.

"A game run by committee is generally a game that goes nowhere -- someone has to move the game forward.

"Every player must look on decisions that I make as 'how does this affect me personally?' My job is 'how does it affect the game?' It's my way or the highway.

"Mark's prize-money this year is probably double what he's earned in the last couple of years so I must be doing something right. We had a very frank and friendly exchange of views and in the end I think he saw my point of view, but time will tell."

Another player to make headlines off the table recently was former world No 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan, who again threatened to retire following his defeat in the last 16 at the UK Championship last month.

"I look on Ronnie O'Sullivan as another version of Frank Sinatra," Hearn quipped. "He's always retiring but there's always one more concert!"

Irish Independent

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