/ Snooker

Allen offered olive branch by Hearn

Updated: Sunday, 11 Dec 2011 22:52

Mark Allen - offered an olive branch
Mark Allen - offered an olive branch

Mark Allen was offered an olive branch by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn today as his hopes of winning the williamhill.com UK Championship took a blow.

Northern Irishman Allen has had to reach the final, in which he trails Judd Trump by 5-3 after the opening session, to ensure his performance at York's Barbican Centre has garnered similar attention to his criticism of Hearn.

On Monday the 25-year-old from Antrim called for Hearn to hand over responsibility for the running of the game, criticised the revamped format of the UK Championship and found himself facing the possibility of legal action from the veteran sports promoter who took offence at the personal nature of the remarks.

Hearn would rather he and Allen resolve their differences amicably as opposed to letting a rift widen, and hopes the pair can meet later this month.

The sport's off-table driving force has transformed the snooker calendar in the space of two years, introducing a host of new tournaments and sending annual prize-money soaring from £3.5million to above £6million.

Allen strongly criticised the move to bring early-round matches at the UK Championship down from best of 17 frames to best of 11, claiming Hearn reneged on an earlier promise, and has since ironically gone through the draw to reach the first major final of his career.

The tone of Hearn's latest remarks indicates he will stand by the steps he has implemented to revive snooker and bring in a new young audience, warning of financial disaster if the sport goes stale.

Hearn, who is on holiday in Mauritius, said in an interview: "I see that Mark Allen's quite happy to have a meeting and I'm delighted to sit down. I wish we'd had it before if he felt so strongly. I'm surprised he kept it to himself.

"But the (World Snooker) AGM is on 19 December and I trust Mark Allen will come there and I'll be very happy to sit down with him, either collectively or privately, and explain our strategy going forward and hear his comments, because he made derogatory comments about me which I take personally but at the same time he didn't make any constructive points.

"He didn't have any idea of where the game was going.

"He actually admitted that what we're doing might be good for snooker in the long run but not in the short term.

"I called these 'silly comments' and they are very silly comments, because he's not proposing anything, and if we stop listening to our customers, if we stop listening to the people who inject the funds into the game that have given us this vibrant economy in such difficult days, if we stop doing that we're out of business."

Trump, 22, who won the China Open in April and went on to finish runner-up at the World Championship in May, was 3-1 behind against Allen at the mid-session interval but breaks of 52, 62, 75 and 61 put him in front ahead of tonight's resumption, when the first player to reach 10 frames will carry off the title and a cheque for £100,000.

Allen provided the highlight of the opening session with a sparkling total clearance of 141 in the third frame.

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