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Barry Hearn strips top snooker stars of playing privileges

Hearn shakes up snooker with Trump and other top stars stripped of playing privileges

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 18 December 2012

Snooker supremo Barry Hearn has thrown down the gauntlet to the top players.

The likes of Judd Trump and Mark Selby will have privileges removed and the top 16 will not be guaranteed a place at eight of 11 ranking events.

From June, all 128 tour pros will, for most events, be hurled in at round one in a draw with 64 seeds.

Wielding the axe: Snooker chief Barry Hearn is cutting player privileges

Wielding the axe: Snooker chief Barry Hearn is cutting player privileges

Ronnie O"Sullivan to play in UK Championship after resolving contract issues

O'Sullivan to play in UK Championship after resolving issues with snooker chiefs

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UPDATED:

09:55 GMT, 7 August 2012

World snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has settled his differences with the sport's governing body and is set to return to the main tour.

The 36-year-old announced after landing his fourth Crucible title that he intended to take a lengthy break.

It later emerged that the unavailability of appearance money was a factor in his refusal to sign a World Snooker players' contract, which he said was 'too onerous'.

Glad to be back: World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has returned to snooker

Glad to be back: World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has returned to snooker

He has missed ranking tournaments in China and Australia.

Today, at midday, was the deadline for O'Sullivan to sign and be eligible for December's UK Championship in York.

His management company Grove announced on Twitter: 'Good news. @ronnieo147 may be playing again. Contract clarified. Uk and international in china entered.'

O'Sullivan added: 'Happy to be back in snooker. See you all soon xx'

After beating Ali Carter 18-11 in the World Championship final on May 7, O'Sullivan said: 'I work as hard as anyone in snooker and I just want to be treated fairly.

'That's up to the governing body to treat players right.'

The growth of the professional tour since Barry Hearn stepped in as World Snooker chairman in December 2009 has been a factor in O'Sullivan's growing frustration.

He said in May there were 'certain pressures that I can't do with anymore', and the calendar becoming become crammed with tournaments carrying world ranking points had meant there was added pressure to appear everywhere.

Hearn's contention is that snooker has never offered so many opportunities for players to earn.

Last season O'Sullivan, the sport's guaranteed crowd-puller, was close to falling out of the top 16 and having to go through qualifying to reach round one of the World Championship.

And while he eventually made the cut and his world title lifted him to ninth, by remaining inactive since then the Essex-based cueman has slipped to 15th place.

His return to top-level snooker is set to come at the new International Championship in China, which runs from October 28 to November 4, offering a top prize of 125,000 and the same number of ranking points as the UK Championship.

Barry Hearn calls for West Ham"s Olympic Stadium bid to be disqualified

O's chairman Hearn calls for West Ham's 'flawed' Olympic Stadium bid to be disqualified

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UPDATED:

18:58 GMT, 5 April 2012

Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has asked for West Ham's bid to move into the Olympic Stadium to be disqualified and branded it 'fundamentally flawed'.

West Ham have applied for a 99-year lease of the stadium in Stratford, which will be converted into a 60,000-seat arena following the Games, after the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) reopened the bidding process.

Although Orient have not made a bid of their own after deciding the stadium was 'not fit for football', Hearn feels the Hammers should not succeed with theirs after failing to satisfy the bid criteria.

Getting his views across: Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn says West Ham's bid is flawed

Getting his views across: Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn says West Ham's bid is flawed

Hearn claims West Ham failed to secure the permission of the Football League before a deadline of March 23 this year.

He told BBC Sport: 'It's well documented we feel the danger to the survival of our football club involves a major new club moving closer to us, but that's a separate argument.

'The argument we have now is that we feel there is a very good case that West Ham may not have satisfied the bid process rules.

'Under the bid process they have to have permission of the Football League in writing attached to their bid to satisfy the bid criteria.

From here to here: West Ham want to move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium (below)

From here to here: West Ham want to move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium (below)

Stadium of dreams: The Olympic Stadium

'We have now, through our lawyers, written to the OPLC, asking whether this clause was satisfied because we believe it wasn't, and we've asked for West Ham's bid to be disqualified.

'I think West Ham have missed their deadline. I think they've relied on a Premier League letter saying that they were quite happy, but the Premier League are irrelevant to this case because West Ham are a Football League club and it comes under the rules of the Football League, an organisation of which Leyton Orient are a member too.'

Looking to move in: West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan along with vice-chairman Karren Brady are keen on the Olympic Stadium

Looking to move in: West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan along with vice-chairman Karren Brady are keen on the Olympic Stadium

In response, West Ham issued a statement which said: “West Ham United has submitted a bid to play matches at the Olympic Stadium from 2014. The rules of the competition impose duties of confidentiality which all bidders must abide by and therefore we make no further comment.”

The Football League declined to comment when contacted.

Asked if the Football League had given any indication as to whether they would approve a request from West Ham, Hearn added: 'There is no question the case would be heard by the Football League board to decide whether they would sanction a request.

'They may sanction it, they may not, but at this moment in time they haven't and that's the key word which makes them, we believe West Ham, fundamentally flawed in their bid process for the Olympic stadium.'

London 2012 Olympics: Stadium pitch needs 2million upgrade

Tax payers face 2m bill to upgrade Olympic Stadium pitch after Games

The pitch inside London's Olympic Stadium is not up to Premier League standards and will have to be ripped up after the Games at a cost to public funds to allow West Ham or any other club to use the venue in the top flight.

The 486million stadium has been built without the undersoil heating required to stage Premier League matches.

Mounting costs: Public funds will have to be used to pay for pitch upgrade

Mounting costs: Public funds will have to be used to pay for pitch upgrade

West Ham would have footed the bill of up to 2m to install a new pitch with undersoil heating, but its long-term tenancy agreement was ripped up last year due to legal challenges.

Instead, the Olympic Park Legacy Company has admitted that it will have to pay after the 2012 Games for the transformation of the stadium, which West Ham could end up just renting.

Barry Hearn, the chairman of League One Leyton Orient, has waged a long campaign for his club to play there after the Olympics, but said last week he believes the stadium, with a running track in place, will not be suitable for football.

Life's a pitch: West Ham remain favourites to take over after the Games

Life's a pitch: West Ham remain favourites to take over after the Games

Mark Allen fined after rant about Barry Hearn

Allen fined and warned over future conduct after Hearn rant at UK Championships

Mark Allen has been fined 250 and warned as to his future behaviour after he swore during a rant directed at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn during last month's williamhill.com UK Championship in York.

The Northern Irishman said following his first-round victory over Adrian Gunnell that Hearn's attitude was that 'the players don't really matter, so f*** the players'.

Allen's outburst was referred to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's disciplinary committee, while Hearn described his comments as 'slanderous'.

Critical: Mark Allen ranted about Barry Hearn

Critical: Mark Allen ranted about Barry Hearn

The WPBSA said in a statement released today: 'Mark Allen has been fined 250 and warned as to his future behaviour by the disciplinary committee of the WPBSA.

'This was for swearing at a live press conference during the williamhill.com UK Championship in York in December 2011.'

World Snooker confirmed that Allen, who went on to lose in the UK Championship final to Judd Trump, had accepted the punishment.

He had already apologised for swearing during the press conference while defending his right to give his opinions on the sport.

Important Allen claimed Barry Hearn thinks the players do not matter

Important Allen claimed Barry Hearn thinks the players do not matter

Janie Watkins, the media manager for Allen's management company On Q Promotions, said: 'Mark has subsequently had a meeting with Barry Hearn, just before the WPBSA AGM in December, where Barry explained where he was coming from and Mark explained where he was coming from and they parted as good mates.

'It's over and put to bed and this was just tying up the loose ends.'

During the press conference which followed the Gunnell match, Allen said: 'Whenever Barry came in, one of the first things he said was that the World Championships, UK and Masters wouldn't be touched. Only 18 months later, the UK format has changed.

'I don't think he's pleasing too many players, but anyone who voted for him has only got themselves to blame. I wasn't one of them.

'He (Hearn) needs to get away from the darts factor. It's getting close to that. I think in the long run he'll probably do good for snooker, but not for my generation. It's time to let someone else have a go.'

Mark Allen in foul-mouthed rant at Barry Hearn at UK Championship

Allen launches foul-mouthed rant at Hearn after sealing progress at UK Championship

Mark Allen has launched an attack on Barry Hearn, saying the World Snooker chairman is ‘just there to make money’ and should leave his post.

World No 12 Allen was rarely troubledas he brushed past Adrian Gunnell 6-3 in the first round of the UK Championship in York and afterwards hit out at Hearn, who was voted in as head of the sport by the players 18 months ago.

Baize-ing hell: Mark Allen has hit out at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn

Baize-ing hell: Mark Allen has hit out at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn

Northern Irishman Allen claimed Hearnvowed not to make changes to snooker’s major tournaments and is unhappythat the first and second-round matches of the tournament, considered to be the second biggest on the calendar, have been reduced from best-of-17 frames to best-of-11.

And the 25-year-old believes aspects of snooker are becoming too close to one of Hearn’s other sports, darts.

Allen said: ‘The players don’t reallymatter, so **** the players. When Barry came in, one of the first things he said was that the World Championship, UK and Masters wouldn’t be touched. Only 18 months later, the UK format has changed.

‘I don’t think he’s pleasing too manyplayers, but anyone who voted for him has only got themselves to blame.I wasn’t one of them.

Tinkerman: Allen claims Hearn is making snooker too much like darts

Tinkerman: Allen claims Hearn is making snooker too much like darts

‘I’ve got no doubt he’ll tweak the World Championship. Barry’s just there to make money for himself, it doesn’t really matter about the players.

‘The whole tradition of the game is going to pot. It’s not all about bringing people in to watch and have agood time, shouting and having a drink.

‘He needs to get away from the darts factor. It’s getting close to that. I think in the long run he’ll probably do good for snooker, but not for my generation. It’s time to let someone else have a go.’

Allen’s outburst came minutes after Judd Trump admitted he will be the underdog against Ronnie O’Sullivan intheir last-16 clash.

Flair game: Ronnie O

Flair game: Ronnie O”Sullivan faces Judd Trump in the second round

The 22-year-old Trump has emerged as the heir apparent to O’Sullivan — who turned 36 on Monday — as the people’s champion, and the two players widely regarded as the game’s entertainers will clash as a result of Trump’s patchy 6-4 win over Dominic Dale.

Trump, who reached the World Championship final in May, has moved from his Bristol home to Essex to practise in the same club as O’Sullivan, and believes the three-time world champion is the favourite for their match.

‘Ronnie is playing the best he has played for a long time and he is feeling the best he has for four or five years,’ said Trump.

‘Hopefully I can give him a good gameand if I can get on top of him maybe he’ll get impatient, but the same goes for me. Two or three years ago I would have felt under pressure, but I think the pressure is on him. He is expected to beat me, he is expected to beat everyone.’