Ronnie O'Sullivan claims the current format of 128-player tournaments is "anarchy" and preventing investment from China.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn rebuked the five-time world champion for recent comments in comparing the sport to a car boot sale and also suggesting it had lost respect in the public eye.

On Wednesday, O'Sullivan saw off Matthew Stevens 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Betway UK Championship in York.

Afterwards the 40-year-old used his post-match interview in the BBC Sport studio to offer further insight into ways he felt snooker could move forwards and embrace lucrative overseas sponsorship deals.

"China is where it is at. The money is there, they are ready to pump it in to snooker, they just don't want 128 players," O'Sullivan told the BBC.

"It is anarchy when you go over there (to compete in a 128-player tournament), you watch it and it is just too many players, too many people. They want the cream of the cream - and that is the top 32."

O'Sullivan feels a trimmed-down version of the tour focusing on the elite players is the way forward.

"I always believe in more quality over quantity. That has always been my philosophy in everything I do," he said.

"I think we have a lot of quantity, but very few quality events, so maybe skim them down a bit and just make them all real proper set-ups.

"Maybe the tour is only strong enough at the moment to cater for 64 players to do that.

"I am a top player, I am not going to be a top player forever, but I always believed the top players should be rewarded and have more classy events to play in and should be treated differently"

"That is probably where I think snooker could be improved, with probably more prestigious events like the Masters, the one they have just had in Guangzhou (China Championship), a little bit like the tennis with the ATP (World Tour Finals), where you just have your top eight.

"Because it is a slog, a lot of players come in at round one, and that is where it (snooker) could probably change its perception.

"My argument is there should be more for the top players.

"I am a top player, I am not going to be a top player forever, but I always believed the top players should be rewarded and have more classy events to play in and should be treated differently.

"I believe the top 16, top 32, should be having better opportunities rather than keep coming into round one, playing a lot of events which don't carry great quality, but that is my personal opinion. I think you need to look after your top players.

"It is nothing against the other tournaments. I know what people in China think, they just want the top players there, they don't really want 128 players."

O'Sullivan believes many of the players currently involved in the tour "are never going to get anywhere".

He said: "If you are good enough, you will get to the top, but otherwise you have got the tail wagging the dog in a way.

"You are supporting the bottom ones when really no-one knows them, they are never going to get anywhere, but you are just having to kind of (go on)."

O'Sullivan added: "This (128-player set-up) is like an amateur and a pro (sport) all in one, and it is just not going to work.

"There are a lot of players I watch out there, and they can't play. It is as simple as that, and that is no disrespect, they are never going to be good enough."

Following his win in York, O'Sullivan will next take on either Liam Highfield or Mark Williams in Friday's quarter-finals.

In Wednesday's other fourth-round contest, Shaun Murphy beat China's Zhou Yuelong 6-2, scoring two centuries as he won the last four frames.

There was little drama in the evening session, where Marco Fu thrashed Oli Lines 6-0 and world number one Mark Selby saw off Zhang Anda 6-1.

Lines, a 21-year-old from Leeds, had knocked out Judd Trump in the second round and then whitewashed Jimmy Robertson.

He was, though, on the receiving end this time as Hong Kong player Fu produced a determined display, chalking up a century break of 118 in the penultimate frame.

Selby, meanwhile, was in equally ruthless form as he quickly recovered from losing the first frame to open up a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval with runs of 90 and 109.

The world champion then wrapped up victory over his Chinese opponent after breaks of 50 and 100 as he won six successive frames.