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Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Ronnie O'Sullivan delighted by Barry Hearn role

Pukka Pies UK Snooker Championship
Venue: Telford International Centre Dates: Sat 5 Dec to Sun 13 Dec Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website.


Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan won the tournament in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2007

Ronnie O'Sullivan has said that Barry Hearn's involvement in snooker could extend his own career in the sport.

Hearn is set to be named chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association following Sir Rodney Walker's ousting from the role.

And three-time world champion O'Sullivan believes Hearn can boost the sport, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "He is the Ronaldinho of promoting.

"If he's involved in the game, I'd definitely want to play on longer."

O'Sullivan's comparison between Hearn and Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho comes as the promoter is set to be ratified as chairman on 16 December after Walker was voted out last week at the association's AGM.

And O'Sullivan, bidding for a fifth UK Championship title, suggested some players would be "lucky" to play under a man who already runs snooker's Premier and Champions leagues and has turned round darts' fortunes in recent years.

"Finally there is someone in charge of the game - if he is put in charge - who is honest, who has integrity, who delivers, he has charisma, he is a winner - he has got everything you need," added the 34-year-old.

606: DEBATE
606 Space-Time

"Snooker is lucky. I don't think some of the players deserve it, to be honest with you, to be playing under someone of his quality.

"But it is good for the game as a whole, even if he still has a hard job ahead of him."

Hearn, who also owns Leyton Orient Football Club, has promised a "fresh approach" to the sport.

He told BBC Sport that snooker needed to "make itself more attractive to young people and sponsors".

Hearn added: "There will be more formats," said Hearn. "I'll try to be innovative and creative. The patient is not dead - it just needs waking up."

Snooker must go worldwide - Davis

Snooker legend Steve Davis, who was brought on to the WPBSA board alongside Hearn at the AGM, was also quick to champion his qualities.

"I think you are going to see a different approach," said Davis, who is managed by Hearn.

"You are going to see a much more hands-on chairman, a much more in-your-face chairman, and guaranteed more transparency.

"What Barry Hearn does is he inspires, he is very innovative, and he delivers.

"Everyone has talents, both players and people in the world of business, but it is a rare person who has the imagination to create events.

Steve Davis and Barry Hearn
Hearn and Davis have known each other for over 30 years

"Barry has got his finger on the pulse of inspiring sponsors, selling them good ideas and delivering to everybody.

"He has also got to make the players feel there is something happening. That is the first thing, and he knows that.

"He has got to get a few quid in their pockets because they are at rock bottom really.

"If he can't produce the goods, he will say 'look lads, I can't do it, sorry' but I don't think anyone believes that is going to be the case.

"At the very worst, what have we got to lose?' and at the very best, it could be a rollercoaster ride."



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see also
UK Championship 2009 - full results
05 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan welcomes Hearn news
08 Dec 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan cruises past Stevens
07 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Walker voted out as snooker chief
02 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Hearn plans quick fix for snooker
02 Dec 09 |  Snooker
UK Championship gets Pukka deal
12 Nov 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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