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Sir Rodney Walker voted out as World Snooker chairman

Sir Rodney Walker
Walker has faced criticism amid claims snooker is falling away as a top sport

Sir Rodney Walker has been voted out as chairman of World Snooker, paving the way for Barry Hearn to take over.

Walker put himself up for re-election a year earlier than was mandatory, effectively calling for a vote of confidence in his leadership.

But he lost out in Wednesday's annual general meeting at Sheffield.

Promoter Hearn said: "There's still the question of my appointment to the board being legally resolved, but this is the beginning of a new era in snooker."

In the 1980s snooker enjoyed a boom period when millions would tune in to watch the World Championship in Sheffield, but its profile has diminished, with the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan claiming the sport is on a downward spiral.

The three-times world champion has said snooker needs "someone with entrepreneurial skills, like Simon Cowell, who is in the modern world and more dynamic" to take charge of promoting the game.

Other top players, including John Higgins and Mark Selby, have spoken out in support of Hearn carrying out a "root and branch" review of the sport.

Hearn, who already runs snooker's Premier and Champions Leagues, has transformed the fortunes of darts in recent years.

"I relish the opportunity to revitalise the sport of snooker in the ensuing months ahead," added Hearn, who is also a successful boxing promoter and owner of Leyton Orient football club.

"At this stage all I can promise the membership of the WPBSA is total transparency, coupled with a regular supply of truthful information."

606 Space-Time

Seventy-two people were eligible to vote on Walker's position - the top 64 players from the past two seasons plus the five current World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association's board members.

It is believed that just 56 votes were cast, with 32 votes in favour of removing Walker and 24 against.

Board members Jim McMahon and Mike Dunn were also voted off the board.

Walker announced plans last month that the tour would up the number of ranking events from six to 15 in an attempt to revive interest in the sport.

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World Snooker to stay at Crucible
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Snooker droopy?
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