x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hearn promises exciting times on green baize

The sports promoter will push for more tournaments to be played across the world, including the Middle East, once he takes charge of the world snooker body.

Barry Hearn, one of Britain's most successful sports promoters, will push for more tournaments to be played across the world - including the Middle East - once he takes control of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). The English entrepreneur is expected to become chairman of snooker's governing body after Sir Rodney Walker was voted out at the organisation's annual general meeting on Wednesday. Hearn does not want to take the World Championship away from its traditional home at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, but is keen for the sport to take on a greater global profile.

"I do see the World Championship as a UK event but that doesn't mean there can't be bigger events overseas," he said. "I don't close the door and never say never. But, unless there is quantum change, I don't see why we should take it away. "There is a lot of interest in snooker out there. Places like China and the Middle East are definitely places we will look to expand. We would, of course, love to bring the game to Abu Dhabi and Dubai where I am sure it will be very successful and well supported."

The last major snooker event to be held in the UAE was the Dubai Duty Free championship which ran throughout the 1990s. Last year Bahrain hosted a WPBSA event which was won by Australian Neil Robertson. Walker, along with vice chairman, Jim McMahon and board member Mike Dunn, were all removed from office by an unprecedented players revolt who decided 32-24 not to re-elect them for another term of office.

It was the biggest attendance of players at an AGM and only 16 of the voting membership failed to make their feelings known. Hearn formed the Matchroom stable of top snooker players in the 1980s before enjoying huge success in boxing and darts. @Email:sports@thenational.ae