SNOOKER : Mark Selby has welcomed the prospect of a Barry Hearn-led snooker revolution after claiming the top players are in danger of becoming “part-time” sportsmen.
Mark Selby has welcomed the prospect of a Barry Hearn-led snooker revolution after claiming the top players are in danger of becoming “part-time” sportsmen.
Selby, runner-up at the 2007 World Championship, claims the current snooker calendar is “a farce” and has questioned whether the right people are running the sport. Sir Rodney Walker will stand to be re-elected as chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association on Wednesday, but promoter Hearn has emerged as an alternative leader of the sport.
“If someone like Barry Hearn was to come in, that could be what turns around our sport,” said Selby. “Hearn would not be seen as a risk as he has proven before what he is capable of. You only have to look at the darts to see what a difference he can make.”
Shaun Murphy has also backed Hearn to guide snooker in the direction of professional darts, which plays to packed venues and has brought growing rewards for players.
Selby, 26, welcomed plans for a new World Snooker Tour, but expressed dismay that only half a dozen ranking tournaments remain on the calendar this season.
He said: “The fact that we’ve got only six ranking tournaments this season is a farce. There is too much of a gap between each event – it’s been six weeks since the last tournament!
“We are classed as professionals but, really, we are hardly more than part-time. The gap is so big we could get another job in between tournaments.”
Writing on his blog at markselby.info, Selby added: “You look at a sport like darts and that is still surviving during these hard times, so why isn’t snooker? Why are we losing tournaments? Why are we down to just six this season?
“Maybe the people behind the scenes are just not working out, so maybe it is time for a change of key personnel, a breath of fresh air.
“I really do hope these proposals come off, because it would undoubtedly be good for snooker and for the players. The game certainly cannot get any worse than it is at the moment.”