Snooker chief Hearn insists no change to World Championship

WORLD Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has assured players and fans there are no plans to change the format of the World Championships.

Hearn’s announcement comes after making big changes to the game in the past two years. Since taking over the sport Hearn has significantly increased the number of tournaments worldwide and has not been afraid to change the format of some of the major tournaments in the season calendar.

In December the now world number seven Mark Allen publicly criticised Hearn for shortening the length of matches in the opening rounds of the UK Championship and playing about with the traditions of the game. 

But Hearn today told BBC Sport he will not touch the famous 16-day competition which he describes as the pinnacle of the game.

“The Worlds are the pinnacle of our sport and has history – that I will not touch,” he said. “It is so amazingly eccentric and British – what other event could have a semi-final that lasts three days? it’s weird and wonderful, it goes beyond change.

“Give me a frame leniency either way but that event is such a big event in the worldwide calendar now, only a braver man than me would change it.

“On all the other events we have to have the flexibility to be innovative, to be more exciting. Most importantly, we must make every event look different, otherwise people get bored.”

The World Snooker Championships begin on Saturday, April 21 at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

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