Players back Hearn to take over snooker

BARRY Hearn has insisted in-fighting will stop in snooker after the game's leading players voted to put him in control of the sport's destiny.

Hearn, via his Matchroom Sports operation, will take a 51 per cent stake in World Snooker after the top 64 players voted 35-29 in his favour at a meeting in Sheffield yesterday.

Players including Stephen Hendry and Peter Ebdon were backing a rival bid fronted by former Olympian John Davison, however Davison elected to miss the meeting and Hearn squeezed enough votes to allow him to push ahead with his vision for snooker's future.

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Given the close result, Hearn knows there are plenty of players who did not fully support him, but he is confident everyone involved in snooker will want to work together now that the way forward has been mapped out.

"We said after the meeting that we've drawn a line in the sand, and all the problems in the past, all the politics, are history," said Hearn. "We've got strong leadership. Where are we going to go from here? We know we've got a big job.

"I think we need a three-year plan, and we need to create a possibility to get them playing all the time. I want them playing every weekend of the year. That would be the same as darts and hopefully we'll have the same success that we've had with darts."