A FURIOUS MARK ALLEN attacked World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn yesterday, calling on him to resign before he destroys the sport and its traditions for the sake of money.
The Northern Irishman was in action at the UK Championships in York where he booked his place in the second round with an uncomplicated 6-3 win over Adrian Gunnell of England.
But after the match, Allen, 25, lashed out at the revamped format of the tournament which has seen the first and second round matches cut from 17 frames to 11 and the partition between the two tables removed so that spectators can watch both matches at the same time.
Along with the UK Masters and the World Championship, Hearn promised not to change the format of the UK Championships, traditionally seen as the second biggest event on snooker’s British calendar.
These seemingly audience-friendly changes, Allen said yesterday, are ruining the culture of snooker and are threatening to lead the sport down the road to becoming a rowdy, drink-fuelled spectacle, much like darts which Hearn famously transformed in the past.
“I’ve got no doubt he’ll tweak the World Championship,” Allen said. “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 a good time, shouting and having a drink. He needs to get away from the darts factor. It’s getting close to that.
The world number 14 conceded that some of Hearn’s innovations would be successful in the long run, but he insisted that the snooker supremo should stand aside for the good of the game.
“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.”
Hearn, who is currently out of the UK on business, is expected to respond to Allen’s charges on his return.