Snooker: Higgins hits out at Hearn for 'ruining' UK event's true identity
Friday 25 November 2011
Defending UK champion John Higgins has accused the snooker authorities of "ruining" a tournament that is widely seen as the second-biggest on the calendar after the World Championship in Sheffield.
Higgins insists World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn previously agreed to leave the sport's "crown jewels" untouched as he experimented with shorter matches and innovative formats to boost snooker's flagging fortunes.
However, this year the £625,000 UK Championship, which returns to its former venue at the Barbican Centre in York next Saturday, will see its traditional, longer best-of-17 frame encounters ditched in favour of contests played over the best of 11.
Four-time world champion Higgins believes the decision has been made with television in mind - but fears the clear identity formerly enjoyed by the UK event has now been lost, rendering it little different to many other tour tournaments.
He said: "I still don't know why it has been done, none of the players have been officially told by Barry Hearn. Apparently it's for TV coverage, but I think some players should have been consulted for their thoughts.
"To be able to play best of 17s I would gladly have given up my automatic place in the draw and played a qualifier somewhere else first to get it down to 16 players.
"A lot of the players are mystified. I do think it has ruined the prestige of the tournament.
"And I also believed this was one of the events that wasn't going to be touched, along with the World Championship. Maybe Barry could have negotiated a bit more with the BBC over it."
Higgins added: "The big BBC events – the World Championship, the Masters, and the UK – all had their own identities, and the UK's has been lost."
Latest in Sport
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Where are the tickets for the fight?
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho plays down news signings Nathan and Yoshinori Muto but talks up Ruben Loftus-Cheek
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...