/ Snooker

Barry Hearn unmoved by failing stars

Updated: Monday, 29 Apr 2013 16:55 | Comments

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn vision for the game has polarised opinion in the sport
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn vision for the game has polarised opinion in the sport

Barry Hearn has warned some of snooker's biggest names that blaming "burnout" for their failure at the Betfair World Championship was out of order.

The World Snooker chairman and promoter of the sport's professional game hit back after star casualties from the early rounds at the Crucible cited fatigue from a busy season as a factor in their poor performance in Sheffield.

World number one Mark Selby explicitly spoke of feeling burned out by the demands of the tour, and four-time champion John Higgins indicated he would be cutting back on his playing commitments next season to stay fresh and see more of his family.

Hearn today announced a new tournament for next season, the Champion of Champions event to take place at Coventry's Ricoh Arena from 19 to 24 November.

And he made it clear he wants players to show more gratitude for the opportunities provided by an ever-expanding tour.

Hearn said: "One of the issues that we get every now and again is the question of burnout. Now I'm not a fan of burnout. Nor am I a fan of using it as an excuse for underperforming.

"So the message is very clear: I don't expect burnout from my staff, my employees, the officials. I expect them to be grateful to be involved in a sport which is going somewhere and I compare everything to the ordinary man on the street who would be very grateful to suffer from burnout.

"Professional sportsmen have to understand this is life in 2013 and is not life in 1980."

The Champion of Champions will carry a top prize of £100,000 for the winner, making it one of the most lucrative tournaments and adding a major event to the UK schedule. It will feature this season's tournament winners, playing in four groups of four, from which the leading player goes through to the semi-final stage.

Hearn is also close to confirming a ranking event in India for next season.

He has been taken aback by the interruptions to matches during the ongoing World Championship, with long mid-match toilet breaks having become an issue.

Hearn knows broadcasters want matches to flow, and new rules are on the cards to prevent players using breaks as gamesmanship.

He said: "If you have a prostate problem like some of us get when we get older and you get a note from the doctor, we will review the rules.

"If there is a problem, consult your surgeon.

"We used to make exceptions for [Canadian 1980s star] Bill Werbeniuk but he had 16 pints of lager in him at the time and I think it was quite rational that he should go to the toilet more than once every four hours."

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