Barry Hearn certainly didn’t mince his words when he was recently asked for his opinion on snooker’s recent snub in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year contest.
As reported earlier this month, no snooker player was nominated in the shortlist for the famous end-of-year BBC award.
No snooker player has been nominated since the shortlist system was introduced in 2010. The last snooker player to reach the top three was Stephen Hendry who came second in 1990 with Steve Davis winning it two years before – the only snooker player to do so since the contest was devised in 1954.
The list is made up by an independent panel of former sporting stars, journalists and media professionals.
But World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn called for the panel to be ‘sacked’ for missing out the achievements of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby.
Hearn certainly made his feelings clear on the subject saying the panel were on a different planet.
Speaking to BBC Snooker presenter Hazel Irvine on Friday, December 8 he said: “I think you’ve got to sack the panel at the end of the day.
“As a sports promoter I have to listen to my target audience, I have to entertain. I can’t just make decisions that don’t have any commercial value or don’t entertain people.
“This panel, and they are independent, must be from another planet. The fact a genius like Ronnie O’Sullivan has never been nominated means sack the panel because they are not listening to what the public says.
“We are seeing basic TV audiences decline in virtually every sport at the moment other than snooker. Snooker is right so the world champion has not been nominated.
“I’m not criticising those who have been nominated – they are all there on merit but you have to listen.
“We don’t produce enough geniuses in our sporting world to ignore a talent like Ronnie O’Sullivan. It is stupid beyond belief.”
The twelve athletes shortlisted this year are: Elise Christie (Speed Skating), Mo Farah (Athletics), Chris Froome (Cycling), Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1), Anthony Joshua (Boxing), Harry Kane (Football), Johanna Konta (Tennis), Jonnie Peacock (Para-athletics), Adam Peaty (Swimming), Jonathan Rea (Motorcycling), Anya Shrubsole (Cricket), Bianca Walkden (Taekwondo).
The winner will be announced on Sunday night (December 17).
Hearn last month hinted of a new snooker competition being added to the calendar which could see Europe take on China in a Ryder Cup team style event.